Color again! (Plus pattern this time)


I've been enjoying my living room so much lately but the blah entryway adjoining it was really dragging me down so I decided to remedy the situation. I've had this idea in my head for a while about these really large fabric canvases and I finally made it happen. Thanks to my friend Abby and her lovely power tools that really made it happen. Thank goodness you can't seem my less than terrific craftsmanship in these photos.

I am wanting to put pictures of the three cities that we've called home in the three frames on the wall: Salt Lake, Phoenix, and Austin. If anyone has a favorite shot that they are willing to share please (please, please) do send it my way. We'll call it a contest of sorts and for the winners - my undying adoration. The frames are fitted for a portrait oriented 5x7 and I will probably convert them to black and white.

I'm also undecided about the rug that I purchased at the last minute. It's feeling too bitsy for me but I just can't decide. I need your help. Pretty please add your input on the survey on my sidebar (scroll down a bit).

The Chosen

The Chosen The Chosen by Chaim Potok

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I can't remember how many times I've read this book but I love it every time. The characters are wonderful and engaging and have such lessons to teach. Potok makes it all seem so effortless. On this reading I was really struck by the friendship between Reuven and Danny and what forms it took, what it really meant to them.

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Orange might be my new favorite color


It's been very rainy here this week and although I like the rain, the lack of sunshine kind of makes me feel glum after a while. I was drinking an Izze soda this afternoon (mmmm, clementine) and the color made me feel happy. And then I noticed that it matched my office walls. That's a cheery thing for sure.

Mommy sanctioned dirty fingernails


Sylvie has been bugging me for weeks to be able to plant some flowers. She wanted to plant them from seed (which we also did) but as an insurance policy I decided to let her and Tessa each take a planter in the back yard and fill it full of colorful annuals. We went to Lowe's and they each picked out their favorites then we took them home and got dirty.

It's rainy crazy huge today so they should be well watered. I should be happy for the rain but I have errands that I want to run and it's keeping me home bound for the time being. Feeling stir crazy.

Always with the festivals

We went with friends on Saturday to the Mela at Barsana Dahm, an Indian temple and ashram just outside of town. There were tons of activities for the kids and it was just a beautiful day to be there. The grounds are lovely with lots of wildflowers, a pond, and of course beautiful oak trees.

One of the highlights of the day was having Nate the Grate make some incredible balloon animals for the girls. Tessa wanted a sword (loving all things boyish) but he insisted she needed something cooler than that so he made her a road kill frog. So highly amusing. Sylvie got butterfly wings that she could actual wear. He really was amazing, just crazy stuff he can do, but I've heard his hourly rate is astronomical so probably not one for our next birthday party at home.



I've been trying to think of something interesting to post for many days now now without much success. (And that doesn't mean that I am assuming the bulk of my posts contain anything interesting to anyone other than myself.) But I'm guessing you can tell my by book posts lately that I'm in a bit of an input phase rather than an output phase. That's good, right? Take in some fresh information and material and stew on it for a while to see where it takes me. I am reading some great books and can't seem to think of anything else to occupy myself lately. Books are wonderful, books are my friends.

The Bible: A Biography


The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World) The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a tough book for me to get through despite it's slim size. A good portion of it went over my head - not sure if it was the way she approached the subject or if I just didn't have my head in the game. What I did take away was a greater appreciation for the different ways people have related to the bible over it's history and how attitudes have varied so widely with respect to how to interpret it.

After seeing the author on Bill Moyers I was very impressed with her and was hoping to read several of her books, but now I'm not sure.

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Sunshine and flowers


I bought a membership to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center because I am planning taking some of their native gardening courses next month (very, very excited for that!). Well, I looked at the 10 day forecast yesterday and decided that we better skedaddle on over and enjoy some wildflowers as the 70s are rapidly disappearing (and I was right since we're at 91 today as I type this). So I convinced the girls to take a quick trip after school and it was lovely. So much color out right now. I found out what a few of the plants in my front yard are so we'll call it a fact finding mission.

There is a gallery at the back of the gardens and yesterday they were featuring works by Shou Ping. She does these lovely watercolors which she then turns into paper sculptures. Just amazingly lovely.

Things that make you go...


There are a few pet peeves I have at work. (Who am I kidding here, there are a lot.) But one of my all time favorites happened yesterday when a system wide email was sent out telling us that all internet services were down. Of course we don't get the email until internet services are restored, but they did their due diligence in notifying us, right?

Fair and balanced


Last night I watched Why We Fight, a documentary mostly about the Iraq war, but also about the American machinery and mechanisms that more often than not lead to war rather than other means of conflict resolution. I've been wanting to watch this film for a while but recently reading the director's book The American Way of War put it back in my sights. The film was excellent and upsetting in the best kind of way. I highly recommend it as it really gives you a larger view of why we ended up in the current quagmire.

I very much enjoy inputs along this line, but sometimes get the feeling that I'm only reinforcing my own biases. While I feel Jarecki did an excellent job of remaining balanced and truthful (this is not Michale Moore after all), it's just hard for me to know if I feel that way because I'm already predisposed in that direction. So I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions as to a counter view point (if you haven't read my previous political posts this means things more leaning to the right than the left). Magazines, TV, books, documentaries - whatever it is I feel like I need a fair balance. I find myself becoming more and more angry and bitter about politics, especially viewpoints that don't agree with mine. I want to at least understand the whole picture so I can feel like my outrage is justified (that's a slight joke there). Please do not, I repeat DO NOT suggest Fox News. Not gonna happen. Suggestions anyone?

Nickel and Dimed


Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I completely loved this book. It was totally engaging and readable, but really informative as well (in a nice palatable narrative kind of way). I think it's overly easy to ignore the issue of low wage workers in this country. I appreciated the fact that she made me so stop and really take stock of my extremely comfortable and bubble wrapped life (but didn't make me feel guilty until the very end if that kind of thing would make you avoid reading it). Books like this should be required reading to help build a little compassion from the upper middle class.

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Easter weekend

We had lots of the regular fun this weekend celebrating Easter. I was completely useless when it came to coloring eggs and was the only one to drop and break any (two be be exact). The egg hunt got moved indoors due to some rain, but that made our yard nice and green so no complaining here. Church was really great although teaching sharing time wore me out and I spent a good portion of Sunday sleeping on the couch. Still a lovely weekend all around.

I totally forgot my camera


Here we are at our first TX baseball game (can you believe it took us this long?) and I left the camera at home. Phone blogging to the rescue! Not to mention typing on my miniature qwerty gives me  something to do since we are inevitably an hour early :-)

What I need


By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, "There is no hurry. We shall get there some day." But all the little streams higher up in the Forest went this way and that, quickly, eagerly, having so much to find out before it was too late.
A.A. Milne
The House at Pooh Corner

Anyone want to meet me for a game of Poohsticks? Honestly, nothing in the world sounds better to me right now.

Suite Francaise


Suite Française Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Such a beautiful book, full of so much humanity. I've read more than a handful of WWII books, but most were focused on the Holocaust - reading about the German occupation of France was new territory for me and Nemirovsky handled it in such a personal way. The book seems very fresh to me too - knowing that it's been hidden for decades after her death at Auschwitz adds such an interesting layer. Fantastic.

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Tessa was peripherally watching me type something yesterday and saw me end the paragraph with a smiley emoticon. "Hey! It looks like a sideways smiley face!" she said thinking she had just cracked one of the secrets of the universe. This seems like a milestone that should be entered into a keepsake journal or something. Introduction into the nuance of electronic communication. Check.

The Tipping Point


The Tipping Point The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had read this book in 2005, but still found it completely fascinating a second time. I think the concepts he presents are so interesting and the anecdotes he uses are equally compelling. I also enjoyed his book Blink and look forward to reading Outliers. Just really readable and thought provoking stuff.

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And Then We Came to the End

Then We Came to the End Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a pretty funny book and I enjoyed it a lot (although in the spirit of full disclosure there is some foul language to move through). The narrator's omniscient "we" got a little annoying from time to time and I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters, but there were a lot of too true funny moments that really kept me going.

View all my reviews.



General Conference has been so great for me this weekend. I can't even pinpoint exactly what topics have resonated, it's just left me with such a positive and energetic feeling. I've enjoyed my time in the Primary Presidency more than I ever would have anticipated, but I really needed this chance to fill my lamp this weekend in an intellectual and spiritual way. Just wonderful.

Big walk


Our church and our library are right next door to each other and only a lovely walk away across a greenbelt path. (This was a major selling point of our neighborhood.) I've walked home by myself from church a handful of times but was trying to find a way to take Tessa with me. Well, today she was wanting a book on paper airplanes from the library so I suggested we walk. It's about a half an hour away at a leisurely (meaning girlie) pace so I knew it would push her endurance but figured she could handle it. It was a great time we had and I'm thrilled at this new option.

Here's a slide show of our trek. Greenbelt the whole way other than crossing two roads. So lovely.

The way there was great but she was pretty tired on the way back and to be honest it was getting a little warm. I pretty much dragged her the whole way home, but her giggles told me that she was still having fun even though she protested the whole way.

I got a wonderful education on 2nd grade politics along the way. I've noticed it takes Tessa away from normal life (mostly away from her nose in a book) and a little bit of lag time to open up so this was the perfect venue. Good day.

Good life

I'm loving Saturday mornings right now. I'm finding myself in a lovely lazy place and actually allowing myself to enjoy it after such a busy year. I sleep in, acknowledge my girls in some fashion or another, and then laze around reading books and surfing on my laptop. There are of course other things I can and should be doing, but these hours with their magnificent filtered sunlight are just too precious to waste on pedestrian chores. Obviously there will be no pictures to accompany this post - I am not at my loveliest even if the day is.

That's how it is


Went outside with Sylvie today and she sighed heavily and commented that there were just so many leaves on the ground (it's been very windy this week). She said (in a very grown up manner) that she and daddy were going to have a lot of work to do this weekend. And then she proceeded to tell Tessa and I that really daddy wasn't going to have much to do because she did pretty much all of it. He kind of helps but she really does all the yard work.

Four is good :-)

Modern life


Our power was out for five hours today. Five! Grumble grumble roar.

Despite my frenzy over not having the internet, it was actually very nice to enjoy the silence. Although my neighbor decided he was bored and went out to mow his lawn and ruined that. I guess this is why they invented the frowny emoticon, days like this :-(

Pregnant friends are the best


Went to the Neko Case concert last night with my beautifully pregnant friend. And her lovely belly got us into VIP seating - how great is that! I'm always a wimp about standing during the whole show. (Um, I mean I was concerned with how uncomfortable she would be.) So I was thrilled to be sitting down on the front row balcony overlooking the stage.

We also had a very nice drug dealer gentleman offer to "look after" my car while we were at the show. He was very chivalrous. I've never gotten so much special attention.

Awesome show! She has an incredible voice and is fast becoming one of my favorites.