Monday, November 28, 2011

Someone get this girl a Globe

The Girl: Mom, how do you draw South America?

Mom: Let's google it

The Girl: Mom, How do you spell South America?

Mom:  You know what you need.....a globe. 

I don't much care for the movie Up.  It's straight up sad.  The first 30 minutes I find myself crying my eyes out.  And so I choose not to watch it.  The boychild got it into his little head that as soon as we got home from Grandma's turkey dinner he could watch it. 

Me:  Did you say we would watch Up when we got home?

Husband: No, Did you?

Me: No!

And then they watched Up and I took a 96 minute bath.

First Week of Advent

We are waiting, we're waiting, we're waiting.

Waiting for Christmas morning, waiting for Burrito's birthday, waiting to be old enough to have our very own horse, waiting for the sickness that has descended onto this house to clear.

There's a pretty good article over at Catholics on Call.  The tale of two benches.  You should go read it.  My little paraphrased version here doesn't do it justice.  The short version is that you can go through your life as one of two benches, a bus bench or a park bench.  A bus bench is a stepping off place.  We are there for single purpose, waiting on the next step.  We are checking our watch, making sure we have all our belongings just waiting for that bus to roll in.  We don't notice our surroundings or the people that pass, all we are focused on is getting on that bus.  You don't sit on a park bench for the same reasons.  You sit on a park bench to enjoy life.  You take a time out from the hustle of life and deadlines to notice and appreciate the gifts that God gave us.

This is the first Sunday of Advent.   This Sunday we acknowledge Isaiah's prophecy from the old testament that the messiah is coming.  And we wait and prepare our hearts and find a nice park bench to sit on while we wait. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Shadow of the Wind

If I was a book quitter....I'd have quit this book.

But alas, I am not.

Even when they are a real stinker.  I find myself holding out hope that something miraculous will happen and I will find something to enjoy within it's pages.

The Shadow of the Wind came highly recommended.  It was written by Carlos Ruiz Safon in 2001.  It became an international best seller and was translated into English in 2004.  I checked this one out on audio since I am currently reading (legitimately reading...according to my sister) The Glass Castle.  So, The Shadow of the Wind, 16 discs.  That's a lot of listening even for me.  The first half of the book seemed slow paced.  I found myself daydreaming as I listened.  I seriously thought about not finishing the book.  But then somewhere around disc 10, I had a change of heart.  Soon I was guessing outcomes, cheering for Fermin Romero de Torres the sidekick and comedy relief of the story, and booing the villainous, corrupt police officer.

For someone who half listened to the first half of the story, I was pretty proud of myself for guessing the two big plot reveals before they were spelled out for the reader.  I like that. 

After finishing the book I'd recommend it too.  With a warning that the first part is a little slow.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tis the Season

I've been feeling a little Grinch-y this year.  Neither family wants to continue the Christmas traditions we have become accustomed to and so I'm thinking of starting my own.  Or just randomly making them up.  I have a few ideas and a few are still stewing.  A few months ago, I came across this War on Christmas article and it has been on my mind ever since.  I've been silently waging my own Christmas battles for the past few years.  So many around us immerse themselves in Christmas from the day after Thanksgiving until that can't possible stand it and Dec 26th all the decorations come down.  Someone always asks me why the heck our tree is still up and decorated on January 4th. 

The twelve days of Christmas really don't start until Christmas day.  And they end at the Epiphany, the 6th of January.  This year, I think I will participate in advent more and leave the anticipation and excitement of Christmas to Christmas.  Having a child's birthday just 6 days before Christmas is probably a good deciding factor too.  I don't want him to feel like his birthday is lost in the hustle and chaos that is the holiday season.

This year, there will be no black Friday shopping, advent will be fully embraced, the tree may not get decorated until just before Christmas.  And all will be right in our world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How the Halloween Costumes turned out

The Yellow Knight and Gollum!

Burrito has informed me that I still need to get him a yellow feather for his helmet.  Maybe I could knit/felt one for him. 
Apparently I forgot to buy the magic sticky stuff to make the fake elf ears stick onto Gollum.  So they are bobby pinned onto her little ears.  She's such a trooper.  I offered to staple them....she didnt' think I was funny.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Just In Time Gloves

I decided I needed some fingerless gloves for winter.  Thank goodness they are done, there is snow on the horizon.  This was my first attempt at the cable stitch.  It turned out nice, but it was soooo slow going.  And there might have been a little swearing every time I dropped a stitch.

I'm glad I can check cable stitching off my list.  Now back to regular knits and purls.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Sometimes I pick which book to read next by browsing the stacks at the Library.  Sometimes I pick something that was featured in the parenting magazine.  Sometimes books catch my eye out of the weekly Barnes and Noble emails. 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot landed on my parenting magazine, Barnes and Noble, and random facebook post.  I suggested it for book club a few months ago but it wasn't the lucky winner that month.  But I read it anyway.

I absolutely loved every page.  There's still time yet, but it might just have been my favorite book this year.  I don't think I made the connection that this was a true story before I started reading.  And I admit that before reading this book I didn't know the origins of HeLa cells.  I have dabbled in microbiology and cell culture in my scientific career but it's not something that is routine for me.  HeLa cells, it turns out, have the unique ability to multiply and survive indefinitely as long as they are given the needed growing conditions.  This differs from other cell lines in laboratories which have a definite lifespan.  The whole longer telomeres are the key to living forever theory I suppose.

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks is a story both of how the cells were taken without her knowledge and discovered as well as the impact it has had on her family and her children.  It also details the struggles of the scientific community in advancing research, collaborations, and tissue ownership.

I have been hounding the husband to read it.  I'd like to know if it is as fascinating a book to a regular person as it was to me, a science dork.  He has not yet.  And seeing as how he is bffs with the librarian and has a smoking, hot of the presses copy of Inheritance, I guess I'll be waiting a little while longer for his thoughts on the matter.

But you should read it.  Consider it a science homework assignment.

My Name is Memory

If you loved The Time Traveler's Wife I predict will devour this book.  I know I did.  I loved it from the first chapter and couldn't put it down.  That hasn't happened since oh say....the last Harry Potter or Eclipse.

My Name is Memory was written by Ann Brashares.  The same author as the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  It chronicles the lives of Daniel.  Daniel is a rare soul in that he remembers all the many lives he has been born into.  There are a handful of others like him in the world and he encounters them from time to time.  It's also the story of his encounters with his love, who does not remember him from life to life.  She has been many people, but the story revolves around her life as Sophia and present day Lucy.  Their time together is interrupted by disease, war, other people.

I loved absolutely every bit of the book except that it's a cliff hanger.  I wish I would have known that going into the book.  Rumor on the googlebox is that it is a potential trilogy?  With no titles or publication dates or confirmation from the author.  I hope that there is at least another book, otherwise my imagination is going to run wild.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Take a walk with me

The quirky thing about siblings is that even though we all grew up in the same family and under the same roof, we all have our own point of view of the family happenings.  As childhood compatriots they share in the joys of summer, of playing in the irrigation water on a hot day, in the excitement of trick-or-treating and getting the crap scared out of you at a spooky neighbors house.  In the anticipation of Christmas morning.  But also in the mundane living that is life.  When it seems the parents are being cruel or we are utterly bored out of our minds on an idle Tuesday afternoon at 3pm.  It's part of growing up to have an older sibling stick up for you when you are having trouble at school AND to have that same sibling tell you to stay out of their room or quit touching their stuff.  The bonds forged then last long into being a grown up and the spaces and distance that replace the few steps down the hall to their bed on a dark night. 

Staying in touch isn't always easy.  This is the same group of characters that will need to band together when we are drawing straws on who is going to take care of the parental units and the plethora of things that will need to be sorted out someday.  And so, I carved out some time in a busy fall schedule to visit my brother.  Because I needed it, because he needed it, because my children needed it.

This is the brother that playfully (or at least part playfully and part naughty older brother) would lift us little kids up and dangle us off the edge of the roof by our fingertips. It was fun, it was challenging to see who could hang on the longest, it was frightening when he would walk away and act like he was going to leave us there forever. This is the brother that would take my side against my older siblings during snowball fights and even out the score a little. I was glad to always be on his team.

These are the moments that Emmers will remember someday.  That Uncle Steve taught her how to do the monkey bars.  That Uncle Steve gave endless shoulder rides and took her to see elk one day.  That Uncle Steve taught her how to use side reins while riding horses.

And Burrito will remember being pushed on the tire swing and driving the tractor and that Uncle Steve has the coolest rope swing ever in his garage.

Christmas is coming

Finally chose a Christmas card for this year!

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, November 7, 2011

On A Cold and Drizzly Sunday Afternoon

I think the brain washing is working.  I have a little scientist in training.  There's even been a request for a lab coat.  Please note the hot pink safety glasses that occasionally double as swimming goggles.  Also, apparently NASA has won the lottery.  There are rocket ships all over outer space.  The girlchild said she was planning her trip to Mars to collect soil samples.  The bug magnification device is set out for official scientific use.  As I scrubbed dishes and washed linens the girlchild was busy labeling her earth and running up and down the hallway asking how to spell this or that. 

The Girl: What else Mom?

Me: I think that about covers it.  You got Fernley, China, India, New York.  What else do you need?  (Notice I did not suggest she write Australia...that'd take 6 days for her to spell out)

The Girl: But I still have all this space.

Me: Don't forget about the ocean.  Did you know that there's more ocean that there is land? 

The Girl:  Good idea mom.  Then I'll fill in the space with islands.  Seven of them.  Like Hawaii.

I particularly love that Fernley and Asia look to be about the same size.

No Shoes, Sunday Service

Burrito: Mom, did you hear that?

Me: What?

B: Father Bob said Jesus is dead!

Me: I know.  He died so he can open up the door to heaven for you.  Now Shhhhh....people are noticing you have no shoes on.

The Husband is off on a business trip.  Can you tell? 

I didn't discover until we were already at church that Burrito didn't have shoes on.  Not sure what the policy is on that.  Glad I can provide some entertainment free of charge.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I left my heart at the Spragpole Museum-Bar-Cafe

While I was up North visiting my brother, we took a short day trip to Murray, Idaho

Seriously, the cutest old mine town ever!  Well...we do have a few gems closer to home but this one is definitely in the running.  It even made it's way onto the wishful-maybe-we'll-retire-there-someday list.  Right next to Austin or Ely, NV. 

We stopped first at the Spragpole Museum-Bar-Cafe for lunch.  I had the most amazing huckleberry milkshake ever! I had to fight the milkshake coveting children off with my long ice tea spoon and honey-BBQ chicken wings.  I also distracted them by making them count the deer antlers around the bar between bites of huckleberry deliciousness.

After lunch, we toured the attached museum.  It was like going home again.   The best part was being there with my big brother and being able to say "Dad has a forge just like this in the backyard" and "I think this is the exact some ugly troll made out of moss that is still in the front entryway at home".  It was an odd assortment of wood carved animals, old apothecary jars, blacksmith tools, ivory elephants, collector edition miniature cars, and giant wooden saint statues.  And it got me thinking.  (LIGHT my best despicable me voice) We could just put out a donation jar and let people take self guided tours of Hal's house when he's gone.  I kid, I kid.....mostly.

My brother was kind enough to send me home with bags of frozen, wild huckleberry.  And we recreated the huckleberry milkshake, many times over, at  home, possibly before we got the vacation unpacking done.


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