Friday, April 23, 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns



A Thousand Splendid Suns was up for voting a few months ago in Book Club but it did not get picked.  It came highly recommended so I decided to read it away.
I liked it.
I really liked it.
Don't tell Flavia.
I think it might stay on the favorites list for a long time.

I have neither read nor seen The Kite Runner yet but it is on the to-do list as well.
If you saw Slum Dog Millionaire and liked it, chances are you will like this one too.

The book chronicles the lives of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila.  It is divided up into sections.  First, Mariam's story, one of growing up as a bastard child and being shunned because of it.  Then being married off at age 15 and the trials she must endure as a second class citizen in the marriage.  Second, is Laila's story.  Who leads a normal life until she is 14 years old and finds herself orphaned when both her parents are killed during her country's civil war.  She finds herself wed to the same man (Rasheed) as Mariam.  The third section details the lives of both women during their time together.

The story spans several decades and ends in the mid-2000's.  I found myself disturbed and re-awakened to the fact that there really are still places in this world where women do not have basic rights like we do here in the United States.  I, in no way, would call myself a feminist but it disheartens me that in some places a man may say "I divorce you" three times and it is so, but a woman would have to go through years of legal proceedings to end a union.  Or that a man need only say something against a woman and it is taken as fact in a court of law no matter how much evidence is provided by the woman.  I have never in all my literary trysts  silently root for the untimely demise of such a horrible person like Rasheed.  But I did.  I found myself thinking that if a person was allowed to get away with such atrocities then this world would really not be worth living in.  And I was satisfied with his punishment in the end.  (Oops...I just spoiled it, Sorry Timbra).

As a side note: I noticed something very similar between this book and Escape.  Both books involve women in polygamous marriages and domestic violence.  Both books involved women who were not happy in those marriages and did not love their husbands.  And both books detailed how the wives did not get along and were constantly causing trouble for each other.  Why?  Why would they do that to each other.  I find myself thinking that they would have been sympathetic toward each other and the traumatic experiences would bond them together like sisters, such as can happen among siblings who have abusive parents.  In Escape, that never happened and in this book it eventually did happen, but it was years in coming.

My favorite quote from the book is:
"Like a compass needle that points North, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always."
It has quite a bit of truth to it I think.

Even Year Traditions

The Woolsey IVs do not have very many family traditions they can call their own.  I'd like to think its because we are still young and adjusting to life and NOT because I am a big slacker.
Please ignore the fact that the Easter Bunny DID NOT visit our house this year until the Wednesday after the Wednesday after Easter (that's 10 days).......okay, okay, maybe I do suck a little.
But, there IS something that we do every even year.
And that is to visit everybody's favorite mouse.
You might know him, his name is Mickey.

The boy and I went together the first time for our honeymoon.  We decided three days just isn't enough time there, and vowed to go back.  Soon.  and Longer.
It helps that some of our favorite Woolsey relatives live amazingly close to Disneyland (an excuse to go visit) and that Will's Dad used to love going there as a young person.  It's a way to keep his memory alive and feel maybe just a little bit closer to him now.
Here are some of our past years' highlights.  I didn't fully embrace the digital picture world until 2008 - sorry for the less than stellar picture quality.  What can I say, I am positively allergic to change in my life in any form, technology included.





Highlights from this year will surely include:
Hugs and Kisses from Aunt Jani
Hopefully getting to feed Aunt Jani's tortoise (if its out of hibernation now)
Woolsey family stories about ketchup and potato chip sandwiches and the like
Eating ginormous dill pickles at the park in memoriam of Grandpa
Swimming at the hotel
Emma is tall enough to ride the Matterhorn this time, will she do it or be afraid???
Splashing around in the Bug's Life Park
The Abraham Lincoln Theater is open again with a new show
I've heard the Rivers of America is dry right now....that will be cool to see
I think Burrito is going to LOVE LOVE the Jungle Cruise (as much bad talk as I've been know to say about it)
We haven't done the Tiki Room since our Honeymoon, should we brave it again for the kids sake?  (Not sure if I'm ready for that.)
Churros....MMmmMMmm...sweet, delicious churros

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Window - By the Numbers

Number of loads of laundry - 8
Number of eggs collected, washed, and put away - 59
Number of times I drove to Fallon - 3
Number of dinners I cooked myself - 0
Number of Vaughns who came to visit - 3
Number of times Emma made us listen to Boom Boom Pow and declared that she wants to be Fergie when she grows up - 34
Number of times Burrito brought me a flying ant pinched between his fingers - 1
Number of hot air balloons that flew over our house - 1
Number of impromptu sprinkler play days - 1
Number of visits with long lost childhood friends -1
Number of times I picked the same Ron White comedy routine to sing me to sleep - 3
Number of late night sister-in-law backyard campouts around the fire spent laughing, painting toes, and star gazing - 2
Number of late night sister-in-law backyard campouts around the fire that were cut short due to overactive imaginations and coyotes - 1














(My misery loves company partner this weekend.  No, it wasn't really swimsuit weather, but since SOMEBODY took the camera with him, an old pic will have to do)


Surviving the weekend single parent style is always hard.  I'm starting to get the hang of it though,  it helps that I have some pretty great munchkins to snuggle with and keep me company while the Daddy is away.  We got messy but at least had a good time getting that way.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A survey for fun....2010 style

I'm a little late for this survey....its been sitting in my email box for a while now. Better late than never, I've always said that:


1.What is your occupation right now?
Research Associate III (fancy for Lab Rat)

2.What color are your socks right now?
White with lady bugs on them (the laundry lady is so fired right now)

3.What are you listening to right now?
Jakob Dylan

4.What was the last thing you ate?
Yogurt

5.Can you drive a stick shift?
Heck Yes I Can!

6.Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Alaine

7. How old are you today?
25......okay, okay.....28


8.What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
Women's College Softball

10.What is your favorite drink?
Coffee or Red Coke....its too close to call the winner

11.Have you ever dyed your hair?
I was Britney Blonde for a while, but I'm back to natural now

12.Favorite food?
Anything that I didn't make

13.What is the last movie you watched?
The Princess and the Frog

14.Favorite day of the year?
Umm....Halloween, I suppose

15.How do you vent anger?
Pout

16.What was your favorite toy as a child?
Can't recall a specific favorite.  I mostly liked to wreck Jacko's.

17.What is your favorite season?
Autumn - the leaves are crisp, the air is cool, good things are usually baking in the oven.

18.Cherries or Blueberries?
Cherries

19.Living situation
Living last I checked or 1 husband, 1 girl, 1 boy, 2 dogs, 1 cat, some chickens

20.When was the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago, boys do really suck sometimes.

21. What is on the floor of your closet right now?
A ton of dirty clothes and my suitcase....which I still haven't unpacked yet. Did I mention the laundry lady was fired?

22. What did you do last night?
Dishes and worked on my scrapbook

23. What are you most afraid of?
I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

24 Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?
Plain

25. Favorite dog breed?
I'm more of a cat person I'd say...and Siamese.

26. Favorite day of the week?
Sunday

27. How many states have you lived in?
One

28. Diamonds or pearls?
Rubies

29. Favorite flowerHyacinth or easter lily

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Feeling a Little Green Right Now

I'm feeling a teeny, tiny bit jealous right now. Why?  Because, this guy is going here, without me.
And Here:


And Here:


And Here:


And Here:


But, what I'm MOST jealous about is that he's going here (only, on the INSIDE!!) 
 POUT


Lucky.
So, I will be making my own fun - single parent style for the next week.  Pray for me.  No seriously.  These children have senses about when their parents are a little stressed out.  They can be a bit like this:
(10 points if you know what creature's mouth that is)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag


From the novel:
"Dogger" I whispered, "Have you seen what I've just seen?"
"Yes, Miss Flavia. Murder - I fear we have seen murder."



The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag By Alan Bradley is the second book in the Flavia de Luce Series. For those keeping track (cough - Jacko) I actually read this one, not listen to it on my sansa as I have been known to do. I had to imagine up the fantastic British accents all on my own this time. But it was worth it, as I am impatient and i couldn't find it on audio CD yet.


Its a new mystery for Flavia to solve in the same style as the first book - an old, unsolved murder tangled together with a murder Flavia has witnessed first hand. Admittedly, I liked the first book better, but this one was quite enjoyable.

I am still in love with the 11 yr old child chemist concept. Seriously, I'm a dork but at least I know it. How is it that she can collect tears off a handkerchief from an unknowing person and mix a couple chemical together, wait a few minutes, and ta-dah, a home concocted pregnancy test. The whole time I was reading that scene I was thinking back to how I tried the whole mixing your pee with Drano to determine the sex of your baby trick and how it ended unsuccessfully. Even considering that I already knew what I was having so it should have been a no-brainer.

My other favorite line from the book written in Romeo and Juliet fashion "Would calcium hypochlorite by any other name smell as sweet"

I submit that it would not.

Freeze Frame

I kind of fell off the book report wagon. Mostly I was feeling inadequate as a book reviewer. If someone wanted to know about a book wouldn't they just go onto amazon or wikipedia and check out the reviews there?


I was thinking maybe something new. Some sort of diorama maybe? That would require a lot of shoe boxes. Which isn't an option (and is a whole different story). What else? Home video a la sixth grade style and a whole lot of bad 20/20 Barbara Walters impersonations? I will think about that. Did we really think those were funny back then? Really?





This month's book club pick was Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe.



The main character, Kyle finds himself wrestling with the death of his best friend Jason. The book follows him as he tries to figure out what's worse, killing your best friend or being killed by your best friend?
The story takes place in Carson City, which was kind of fun to read about places I actually know and have been. But I also found it a little distracting. I guess I like my realistic fiction to be a little less home base. I found myself thinking about Carson High School and the people I know from there instead of sympathizing with the characters in the book.
And given that the book will obviously have quite a bit of death and its affects on peoples lives in it, I found that there were more than a few humorous scenes to balance them out. I actually found myself laughing out loud a few times.

So....If I were going to be doing a diorama (which I am not - obviously) here's what it would have in it:
a watch with a dead battery
a comic book
a jar of red M&Ms
a pair of orange tennis shoes
a rope
a director's chair

Sounds intriguing? Better go read the book then.

Wedding Part II









Nicole and Lawrence got married last Saturday in Smith Valley. Em was the flower girl and did her part of acting goofy and shy and speed walking down the aisle. She got a good chuckle out of the audience to lighten the mood.



























Its hard to believe Kayla is going to be senior next year. Makes me feel kind of old. It's soo hard to tell we all have a little Newman blood in us isn't it?
(Jacko, Kayla, and I)









The Children in order. It seems like as we get older and more involved with our own lives its harder to get the whole group together. When it happens, its required that there be photographic proof.



We even lined up in order by age and height because we are kind of dorky like that.

(William, John, Me, Jacko, Luke)
















And, The Boy. Let's play captain obvious, shall we? What's the same between this picture and this picture?







Boys...Sheesh. Oops. I wrote that, and then remember that Jacko may or may not be wearing the same dress too, but at least she has a good excuse right?




The Boy couldn't stay for the after party, He had official drownings baptisms to attend to. We missed him there. And for the record, it was Phyllis who almost let Bobbo lose the groom's ring before the ceremony.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wedding I

As much as I would like to pretend it were otherwise, my favorite sister doesn't come all this way JUST to visit with me. There was official wedding business to attend to while she was here.







We got dressed up. Shocking right?! Especially since I was convinced I was going to have to go naked. This is what happens when you wait until the day of to buy a dress.


The Boy pouted when I said he couldn't wear his carhartts to the wedding. Hello....little black dress over here. I eventually won. When we got there, it was decided that he could have worn them and been just fine.


Todd DJ'd - that was a good surprise. There was no dancing for us. Mostly because we were a threesome, so someone would have had to be lonely. I stand by my sister on abandonment issues, or she stands by me, same/same. We officially decided Jacko can't come to visit anymore if she doesn't bring her husband. He is always worth his weight in laughs and beer, such as what happened at William's wedding. But that is another story for another day.








Joleen looked amazing, but then she always does.









(Joleen, Jacko, Me, and Clay)







I would like to request a do-over on my wedding party favors. Is that an option? These were soooo stinkin' cute. They put our mix CDs to shame. Why didn't I think of that for my wedding? Probably because I was all of eight days 21 at my wedding, I'm guessing. And I wasn't fully aware yet of the plethora of bottles in miniature that can be procured at Ben's.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Bad Case of the Mondays



















I think even Em is starting to feel the end of winter blahs.
My list includes
- spring fever with no cure yet
- oh, the wind how it does blow. Which I hate.
- rough work days

But I did run across this video the other day....I like it.  It's kind of cute and sassy.  Reminds me of Avril's I don't like your boyfriend video (which I also like)



Soon. Soon I will be out in the backyard with my bright yellow visor on, weeding the garden in my swim suit so as I do not get a horrible farmers tan. Soon I will be out running again in the early morning hours, listening to the dew sizzle on the power lines over head.  Soon I will be sitting on the back porch sipping sweet tea and swatting at mosquitoes.


soon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why We Need Dads





(Dad, Burrito, and Em)


Because activities such as this make me cringe and run for the nearest sink.

I don't do paint, it's way too messy for me. Ranks right up there with play doh and moon sand.


But The Boy does. He made new boxes for Em's rock collection since it has grown exponentially now that she is hanging out with Me mere twice a week. All your basic school colors were represented; red, blue, yellow, and green. Of course, Em wanted every color in every spot so the whole container turned out kind of brown and defeated the whole point of painting it in the first place. Kids.....Whatcha gonna do? Right?
Burrito clearly does not have good brush stroke form. Which, no doubt, has everything to do with the fact that I don't let him do crafts with us girls. Ever. I might just win the Mean Mom award yet. But That is why we have daddys after all isn't it?

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