Monday, June 25, 2012

Stained fingers and happy hearts

The blackberries are here.
There probably won't be any when sister gets back.
Bob and I have been spending our evenings dodging thorns and deciding which ones are the very tastiest.

Life of Pi

Life if Pi is like Hatchet's older brother.   Except this guy got stranded in the ocean and not the Canadian wilderness.  If you've read Robison Crusoe or any of Gary Paulsen's books you will probably like this one.

It's the story of Piscine, who at 16 finds himself shipwrecked with a bunch of animals...well if you can call 4 a bunch.  It's survival of the fittest as he drifts at sea with a bengal tiger.  Well technically he finds himself adrift at sea with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a bengal tiger.  And then the hyena eats the zebra after reading his fate in the zebra's intestines, and now I am firmly entrenched in the anti-hyena fan club.  Sorry Disney's Lion King. 
And then one day Richard Parker, the bengal tiger, ate the hyena and I was all YAY! go Richard Parker.
And now I kind of want a tiger-striped cat that I can name Richard Parker.
And love him forever.
And when Richard Parker got bit by a shark I was certain he was going to get an infection and die.

But wait...this book is about Piscine.  Piscine finds among the safety supplies in his raft a survival guide.  I'm fairly sure that I'd need one if I was going to live for more than a day adrift at sea.  I think I was most intrigued by the solar stills Piscine had in his survival kit.  They were his primary means of getting fresh drinking water.  I guess I thought that even with today's technology it wasn't as straightforward as it seems to make ocean water potable.  I also was surpised to read that Piscine's survival guide said that a human could survive 14 days without water as long as they weren't losing very much to sweat.  And that most of thirst is psychological.  If you feel thirsty, you should try sucking on a button.

Yep.  Pretty sure I'd be a goner if that was me.

While I was looking up all things sea faring related, like what the heck a tarpaulin is, I discovered that Life if Pi is being made into a movie.   It comes out this November.  I'd go see it.  You should too, after you've read the book of course.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

RTO 2012

The Reno Tahoe Odyssey is a 178 mile relay race around Lake Tahoe.  You take 12 people of various acquaintance levels and put them into 2 vans for 24 hours-ish.  The race is short on sleep and showers but long on personal accomplishments and fun! 

I averaged a 9:20 minute mile for my 17 miles.  I think this cross fit thing is actually helping me out without my consciously having to do speed work training. 

Year 2 for Disco Velveeta

That's funny right there!

Can I switch vans please??

Getting good use out of my sparkle skirt so I can talk the boy into letting me get a 2nd one.
p.s.  Look how perky I look at 6am. Gross!

My favorite running buddy from another team.  Took me quite some time to catch up to her but I did :)

Cheers!  We finished the race and no one died!

Let's Pretend this Never Happened

Jenny Lawson, aka THE BLOGGESS, recently published Let's Pretend this Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir). 

You can read the synopsis here.

She is like the girlfriend your parents prayed would move away and quit corrupting you with her irreverent language and crazy shenanigans.  There is a lot of swearing and vulgar words in the book, but if you take it with a grain of salt or a lot of grains of salt on the rim of your margarita glass, you will literally find yourself laughing-out-loud.  With that being said, you might want to choose your book reading location carefully.  I nearly got kicked out of the bed for full belly laughing when I was supposed to be sleeping and the boy was sleeping.

The book is a quick, mostly upbeat read, pack it in your beach bag or take it on your next road trip.  You won't regret it. 

Monday, June 18, 2012


Middlesex, a best sellers list novel written by Jeffrey Eugenides, was published in 2002.  Eugenides is also the author of The Virgin Suicides.  Have you read that one?  I have not.  Mostly because it sounds like it will give me night terrors and I'm kind of a wimp like that.  Feel free to change my mind on that.  My trusty sister-in-law book reference hasn't read it either.  She said it had too much teenage angst in it for her.

Middlesex is a family drama played out over three generations that culminates in the birth of Calliope Stephanides, who later on would find out that she is really a hermaphrodite.  It's written in both first and third person but it seems to work well for this story.  I enjoyed the flow of the novel and Calliope's matter of fact approach to coming to terms with the genetic cards he was dealt. 

Some critics have said that Middlesex is too wordy.  I would disagree, it is a long novel but there isn't pages and pages of scenery description or dwarf songs (Not that I'm complaining....JRR Tolkien.  I do love your books too!).   I enjoyed the language of the novel and think that it would be an example you could hold up in protest to someone trying to argue that the Twilight books were well written.  Oh I liked Twilight just as much as the next girl but this book is so much more developed in terms of characters, back story, and language.  The novel characterized the transmission of the autosomal recessive deficiency of the 5-alpha-reductase gene.  Something commonly found among isolated communities that practice some degree of inbreeding.  It had just enough science to catch my eye but not enough to worry about if that's not really your thing, or if you had trouble reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, for example.

I enjoyed Middlesex enough that should the opportunity present itself, I might give the Virgin Suicides a go.  Even if the reading of it has to be confined to daylight hours.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Orange You Glad

The poppies are in full bloom right now. 
They remind me of all things summertime and my mother. 
I think I might need to get some for my yard.


Daughters, written by Consuelo Saah Baehr, is a family saga spanning 3 generations of women.  It begins in a 19th century, small Jerusalem village and find it's way to Georgetown in the mid-1970s.  It chronicles the lives of women who begin life in strict family traditions with chosen marriages and family expectations to uphold, and then find themselves in the midst of war and cultural upheaval.  While the book is fairly long, it's easy to get cause up in the story of women and their coping with the decisions of work, money, food, love that have to be made in the war torn Palestine.

At it's core, the book is about each of the three women's courage, love, and hope.  True to the stories that come out of this region, I found the book to be bittersweet (much the same way A Thousand Splendid Suns is or The Kite Runner).   I accept the ending of the book as it is but it will probably be a book that I rewrite the ending in my head.  Much like I do with the City of Angels movie.  Because sometimes after so many setbacks in life you just need a happy ending!

Just as a warning, this book had quite a bit of sexual content.  Enough that I found myself kind of uncomfortable reading it on a long plane ride next to strangers and wandering eyes.  I'm a weirdo, I know.  But don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sacramento Zoo time

Just when I decide to start a tradition, the fish tank gets remodeled.
Next year perhaps and I'll remember to get both kids in the picture AND have them facing the camera.

2008 - Emma and a random spiderman kid

2011 - Emma and Laila

2012 - Emma, Laila, and Bob

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's hard to let them grow up sometimes

Originally, I had signed only Emma up for the Reno Rock n River kid run. 
The website was short on information and only listed the kid run as free, must pre-register, and 1 mile.

Now, in case you weren't aware, the boychild....he has very short legs. 
And I was sure he wouldn't make it a mile.
But then he demanded that he get his own exercise clothes.
And I didn't want him complaining to his therapist in 20 years that he was the neglected, didn't get to do anything child.
So, at the last minute, I signed him up too.

As this was only our second ever kid race I wasn't really sure what to expect.
It was chaos.
I left two kids and one husband at the start line and went to find  a place that I could properly spectate from.

Then the husband is there standing in front of me asking if I have the boy.
No he was with you.
And now he's not.
And then I was in full mom panic mode.
It was me at 4 years old, lost at the San Diego Zoo, all over again.  Only this time I was the mother and not the MIA child.

And then I found him.  He had found a warm, sunny park bench to sit on possibly scoping out a new family to attach himself to.
Then, the obligatory hug
and you scared the crap out of me
and don't you ever do that again!

I ran half a mile and all I got was a gift certificate for a gold fish.

(Actually, they both were pretty stoked about that)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Catching up

It's been quiet around Zeke's Corner lately. It's been crazy busy but I think we are finally starting to settle down into our summertime plans.

I went to Canada for work.  It required a passport.  Last time I left the country was pre-2001 when the borders were not so guarded.  No passport necessary.  Did you know passports are up to $150 dollars these days?  And did you know that the girl at Canada's customs did not stamp my passport?  So now I am the proud owner of a $150 passport that has no stamps in it.  Isn't that fun?

I spent so much time at the nerd convention in Canada that there was no time for sight-seeing.  What happens at a nerd convention?  I spent the week playing the alphabet game in meetings.  Do you know that there are no smart, scientifically related J words.  None. 

It rained every single day while I was there.  Thanks but no thanks.  I'll keep my dry desert living thank you very much.

On this trip to Canada that on paper never happened.  I got to ride on this lovely Bombadier Q 400.  It's not every day that you get to walk out on the tarmac to board the plane.  With a friendly reminder to mind the back of the plane, lest you get sucked into the engine.  I also couldn't help but notice the lack of oxygen masks that usually drop from the ceiling in the event of loss of cabin pressure. 

While I was away I missed a certain girl child's kindergarten graduation.  There goes my mom of the year award.

There also has been TWO visits from the tooth fairy.  I am fairly certain that this girl is breaking her promise to me to never grow up.

The boys and I visited the cemetery over Memorial weekend and did some sprucing up of the grave markers.  It's been important to me to make sure the kids are involved and reminded of our loved ones who don't walk this world anymore.  At one point Burrito had the little pick axe in his hands....that was a wee bit scary.  And I'm glad there were no other visitors in our area, so they wouldn't have had to hear me tell Burrito to quit jumping off the headstones like superman.  Where is this child's proper fear and respect of the cemetery?  We must not be watching enough scooby doo at our house.


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