The Eye of the Leopard

2010/03/31

The Eye of the Leopard: A Novel The Eye of the Leopard: A Novel by Henning Mankell


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I found this book engaging and interesting, but in the end it didn't really leave me with a strong connection or response. There were some wonderful thoughts the author put forward about racism, sense of home, and a person's path through life. But somehow it just didn't move me. It was a good book, just not a great book for me.

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Girls Will Be Girls

Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters by JoAnn Deak


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book had a lot of good information - some of it new and some of it a good articulation of what I remember from my own childhood and adolescence. Her penchant for naming stages/issues/situations and labeling endlessly gets a little tiresome and her lack of supporting documentation/evidence is a concerning, but on the whole it's a good book to get any parent of daughters in a good mind frame to tackle the task. I like her pragmatic approach and validation of the different social/emotional stages. It makes me realize that every phase has it's reasons and benefits.

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Yay for yoga

2010/03/23

I have challenged myself to practice yoga every day for the next month. I usually practice three or four times a week and run three times a week. But last week I totally fell off the exercise wagon. No running, no yoga. Part of it was spring break and it's harder for me to get out with my girls at home. Part of it was my penchant for sleeping in when there's no pressing need to wake up and get people out the door. Part of it was plain old laziness. But whatever the reason, by the end of the week I was a total wreck. Anxious, jittery, bored, irritable, you name it. This also happened over winter break when my girls kept me away from the yoga studio with the same result. Okay body, I got your point. So I figured if a week of no yoga can turn me into a slobby beast, then a month of constant yoga has got to be a good thing, right? The best thing about yoga is that when I need a hard workout to really push myself it's easy to find a class to kick my butt. And when I need a moment to reflect and relax I can do a restorative practice. It's exactly what I need as well as the vehicle to teach myself what it is exactly that I need.

Day four and I'm feeling fabulous.

That rock and roll music

2010/03/21

It's been a good month for me and live music. And this was a must needed injection of happiness after mixed success last year with the concert scene. I love live music in theory, but I am also on the fast track to old and cranky so sometimes ridiculously loud music and standing next to stupid people with beer for multiple hours isn't as fun as I think it's going to be.

Last month I went with friends to see one of my absolute favs, Laura Veirs at Mohawk. It was a fabulously fun girls night and I was thrilled to see her in such an intimate venue. One of the openers was great and I even bought his CD. The other opener was so bad that I had tears of hilarity rolling down my face. Synthesizers. Members only jacket. Enough said. Laura herself was wonderful. She is an acquired taste but has become one of my top artists. She is hugely pregnant and I can't imagine a tour across Europe and the U.S. is very fun, but her show was still great.


A week ago Dave and I went to see the Flaming Lips at Austin Music Hall. If you're not familiar with their reputation for live shows, well, it's enthusiastic to say the least. Wayne opens the show by rolling out on stage in a huge bubble and launches himself out into the audience like a giant hamster. There were balloons and confetti and smoke and all sorts of craziness. Everything on stage was painted orange and there just couldn't be a better color for them. Wayne had a micro camera attached to his mike and there was a giant screen behind him showing a closeup of his nose and mouth while he sang. It was a fabulous time.


My first iPod was named Yoshimi in honor of my favorite song which they played. Pardon the poor video quality, but I'm a little excited that my phone finally has video capture.

video

I was supposed to end this post with awesome tales of a mega show from SXSW. Deer Tick, Lucero, Justin Townes Earl, and SHE & HIM! And free to boot! But yesterday, the day of the show, was ridiculously cold and rainy and somehow my old and grumpy side won the battle and I deemed it not worth it. The whole fam was going to go and Tessa was actually the most bummed out. She sulked about it all weekend. There's just no way that was going to pan out for a fun day. This time it was better to stay home and listen to the CD. Next time maybe. Thankfully living in Austin there is always a next time.

Tada!

2010/03/17

I finally mostly kinda sorta did it! I've opened my shop on Etsy. Starting out small, lots to come in the next while so check back often!

Too Much Happiness

Too Much Happiness: Stories Too Much Happiness: Stories by Alice Munro


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Short stories used to be something I avoided, but I've grown a taste for them lately. This book was marvelous. I loved the feel and flavor of the stories. Her situations and characters are very novel yet familiar.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day

We celebrated by being out in the green

Thinking is a bad thing

2010/03/16

I am contemplating something semi-drastic with my hair color. A little bit rock and roll, a little bit of whimsy. I've never colored my hair (other than a moment experimenting with drugstore black in college) and I figure when it's short is probably the best time to play. I almost did it last time I was in for a cut, but they ran out of time before I had to go pick up my girls from school. So I went ahead and made an appointment and now I have to sit and think about it rather than the freedom of acting impetuously. After all my pondering I'm a little worried about going through with it. I have two hang-ups. First, I have to present in front of a college wide audience at the end of April and I'm wondering if I'll look like a silly twit who no one takes seriously or maybe if I play it right I can be just another feather in the GCC diversity cap. Second, I am worried that someone at church will yell at me about being a bad example for their young and impressionable children since I work in primary. I'm not going to go totally punk rock or anything, just a few streaks of bright color - pink/blue/purplish - in the front. Thoughts? Opinions?

Possession

2010/03/15

Possession Possession by A.S. Byatt


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I saw that my library book group had chosen this title I was happy to read it a second time. But after struggling to finish another of her more recent books I was nervous that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I did the first time a decade ago - but it was great. The story, of two poets having a secret romance of letters, is such a romantic one and brought so many thoughts and feelings to light for me. It seemed so cruel that they should live the greater portion of their lives apart after having a short moment in the sunshine. Just unbearable. I appreciated the artistry and amazing literary prowess of the author. It is a complicated and layered novel.

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If another cold snaps sneaks in I will run screaming into the street

This week is Spring Break and while I still have yet to think of concrete plans to entertain myself and my girlies, I am hoping it will have something to do with being outdoors. Spring has finally sprung and the sunshine and warmth are making feel human again after what was surely a ridiculously long and cold winter. I am obviously grading on the sunbelt curve here and apologize for my complaining to anyone who lives in a place that has actual winter.

We walked to a neighborhood park late last week with Tessa's classmate and neighborhood bff. Just fabulous weather.



On a side note, I've really got to figure out how to get better results out of my new camera. I know I and mine are fair complected, but they look like ghosts in these pictures. Now if I only knew where I put the instruction manual.

I am

Tired yet full of frenetic energy
Anxious but occasionally at peace
Bored but full of too many activities
Filled with the Spirit yet sometimes listless and complacent
Full of words with nothing to talk about

Sometimes happy

Sometimes sad

Sometimes smiling

Or crying

Most of all I feel like every waking hour I have filled my head with large thoughts of self analysis and assessment. And that is honestly just exhausting. I would like to just be for a while.

One of my favorite scriptures is in Psalm 46,
"Be Still, and know that I am God"

Thing

2010/03/06


Friday was "storybook dress-up" for all of the kindergartners at Sylvie's school. After lengthy negotiations in her class, she decided to be Thing 1 from The Cat in the Hat. There was much conversation amongst the kindergartners about which thing was appropriate for which gender of child. Very high stakes stuff here. With Dr. Seuss's birthday this week, his characters seemed to be in high representation. There were six or seven "things" in Sylvie's class and a handful of Cats in Hats as well. There was also a Horton, Yurtle the Turtle, a few princesses, Mary Poppins, and others. Of course, I think Sylvie was the cutest. She loved her blue hair and I was really worried it would fall out so I really hooked it in there. I must have done a good job because not only did it stay in all day at school, but she wore it all day at home and even to bed. I thought she might want to go for a second day, but we finally took it out this morning.


Wow

2010/03/04

Sustainance

There is a group of ladies in my ward that attend the Temple the first Wednesday of every month and I've been trying to go with them whenever I can. With Sylvie now in kindergarten this works out fantastically - we leave right after I drop them off and are back from San Antonio right before I pick up my girlies. I take a personal day from work or half a personal day and I've got myself a nice day out of my ordinary routine. It has been a real blessing to me since I've started - there is such a sense of peace and love there. It has also been fun getting to know some of the women in my ward that are outside of my normal circle. I've been in primary almost since we moved here and I still don't know most of the people at church.

So I've been trying to talk to my girls about my time there and give them good associations with the temple so each month I bring home a fresh loaf of bread from Great Harvest which is right across the street from the temple and a definite stop for the whole car whenever we go. There is nothing quite like that smell when you walk in the doors and they are very generous with their complimentary slices. Yesterday I splurged and bought some of their berry flavored whipped honey. It's a health food, right?

Good day. Spiritually and temporally fed.

I love food but man do I hate cooking right now

2010/03/02

Favorite foods from childhood:
  • Rice cooked with raisins in it (No, not rice pudding. It's just rice with cooked raisins in it and little bit of chicken bouillon. Yes, it's delicious.)
  • Burger Beans (Mmmmm...)
  • Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
  • Chicken Saltimbocca
  • Mini surprise meat loaves
  • Clam Chowder
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Quiche
  • Poultry Puffs
  • My grandpa's homemade mystery meat that I helped him put through the grinder. Mom, I don't want to know what was in it :-)
  • My grandma's home bottled green beans
Favorite recipes I make:
  • My homemade pizza
  • My lasagna
  • Cashew Chicken
  • Chicken & Sweet Potatoes with Apricot Sauce
  • Chicken with Spinach and some kind of white sauce on top (I've forgotten the name)
  • Lime Chicken Picante
  • Classy Chicken
  • Chicken and Shrimp slow cooker recipe with feta and artichoke hearts and some other stuff that's yummy
  • Raspberry Stuffed Pork Chops
  • Ham Carbonara
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Salmon with a yummy mustard sauce on top
  • Sloppy Joes on my mom's BEST EVER homemade hamburger buns
  • Sweet and Spicy Lentil Chili
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Clam Chowder
  • All varieties of bread and muffins and of course cookies. Seriously, when I looked through my allrecipes recipe box to refresh my memory I discovered that well over 80% of my saved recipes are for desserts or breads.
Some new favorite recipes:
What we typically eat because right now I'm totally sick of cooking and am not sure I'll ever, ever get out my funk but in my defense I at least make sure we eat vegetables most nights:
  • Lame Pasta (pasta with a jar sauce on top)
  • Some kind of slow cooker bean soup
  • Salmon Patties
  • Tacos or some such concoction of tortillas with random stuff in them
  • And because Sylvie asks for them EVERY night - biscuits
Wednesday is leftover night and it's my favorite night of the week!

And finally candles

It's a little disconcerting to realize that we've reached the age of slumber parties and girly madness, but I'm doing my best to take it in stride. And to stop only thinking in terms of myself and how this must make me older too. But once I chuck out all that silly self talk I am thrilled for my daughter and the wonderful girl she is, the wonderful woman she is becoming.

The slumber party itself was lots of fun and I found the self propelling chaos preferable to me needing to invent a string of party games to entertain everyone. Even though we had created a way for Sylvie to be "out of the way" that night, once things were underway Tessa and her friends invited Sylvie to join them so they could give her a make over, and she stuck with them for the rest of the night. Until sometime after midnight when the noise level spiked due to the ending of movie number one and Dave went out to find Sylvie totally asleep in the middle of the squealing girls - at that point he carried her into our bedroom to finish off the night. Tessa had a blast with her friends and they were all a pleasure to have over. Not that I'm planning on repeating this little experiment any time soon. Some things are best in small doses.