Tunes for Traveling vol. 10

2010/04/25

I am sick. And I am traveling to Phoenix for work tomorrow. I haven't had to travel while sick yet and I'm none too pleased about it. I have a small suspicion that my illness might be allergy related (they tell me everyone in Austin gets them sooner or later) so in that case maybe I'll feel better once I escape the evil clutches of the pollen. We shall see. In either case I am going and that of course means I must load my iPod. Step one in packing today.
  • The Black Keys
  • Blitzen Trapper
  • Broken Bells
  • Cataldo
  • The Concretes
  • The Damnations
  • Gillian Welch
  • The Hold Steady
  • Iron and Wine
  • Jakob Dylan
  • Johnny Cash
  • Laura Veirs
  • Natalie Merchant
  • The National
  • Neko Case
  • The New Pornographers
  • OK Go
  • Radiohead
  • The Shins
  • Spoon
  • White Rabbits

Beatrice and Virgil

2010/04/22

Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel by Yann Martel


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm still cogitating this book and not entirely sure I'm ready to write a review. I was totally captivated by the story and not in the least disappointed with the narrative. It had all the charm and curiosity of Life of Pi. I am still trying to unravel how I actually felt about the allegory, the actual meaning. It seems there was a whole lot there and I'm just not convinced of how well it fit together. But that thinking and wondering is certainly what I crave in a book.

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Eating Animals

Eating Animals Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm not sure if it was this actual book, or the cumulative effect of all of the food books I've read over the last few years, but I am completely disgusted and torn up about our modern factory farming practices. I never really set out intending to find myself a vegetarian, but this book has made me at least entertain the notion. Every time we make a purchase of factor farmed meat (which is 99% of what is available) we are condoning a system that is morally bankrupt. There are reasons on every front to opt out of the system: environmental, personal health, animal welfare, workers rights, national security, basic human responsibility and decency. I'm frustrated at the limit choices for humane meat and not totally sure what path I'm headed out on, but I can certainly no longer claim ignorance. I suppose ignorance was a feeble excuse to begin with.

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Status update slightly too long for facebook

2010/04/20

I've been feeling like a punky blogger lately and a lot of it has to do with the meltdown of my primary computer, a laptop from work. I am relegated to the ancient and crappy PC and it's just not quite the same relationship with computing. I really do feel like a large portion of my life hinges around the computer so not having things just so is understandably messing with my mojo. I am getting a new laptop when I travel to work next week so that should improve the situation drastically.

I've also had my mom visiting until yesterday and that has kept me otherwise (and pleasantly) occupied. It was great to have it here and she timed it well with the beautiful green of spring although she did get a lot more gray skies than I anticipated. It was great to have her here and I lobbied hard to get her to make the move permanently. But my silly sister has two years of high school left. Who needs friends in high school anyway? That's right Xandy, I'm blaming it all on you! :-)

Patience. I am full of patience. (This is one of those times that I'm trying to convince myself with those positive mind waves. Kind of like how I pull out the gratitude card when I'm feeling grumpy about my hand.)

Rain

We had a sensational rain storm on Saturday night here in Austin. It came down in buckets and in less than 20 minutes our entire back yard was flooded. We found out that there is a drainage path through our back yard as several neighbor's runoff moved together to make a river through our yard and out onto the street. Gutters were completely useless as water poured off of the roof. Super exciting for the short time it lasted - any longer and I would have been worried. I had crazy dreams the nights after about our house exploding in a fireball after being struck by lightning so I guess it got into my subconscious. The yard was back to normal by morning except all the dams of debris that are remnants of the river's path. Weather, what a novel concept.




Mountains Beyond Mountains

Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer by Tracy Kidder


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoy Tracy Kidder's style and hope to make it through a few more of his books. This one was inspirational and well written. And addressed an interesting question which ultimately changed my outlook (not always an easy feat). It was really hard for me to wrangle with the issues of Farmer's methods and how cost ineffective they were. But when Kidder addressed this in the last chapters I think I really saw the light. It doesn't really have to do with programs and budgets. It has to do with one person, each of us, dealing with the situations and issues right in front of us. Tackling them with relentlessness and absolutely no excuses. It's a personal thing and just can't be extrapolated to a macro level.

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Toddler Blogger

2010/04/14

I totally missed the two year anniversary of my blog last month. It makes me happy that there is at least one thing in my life that I've followed through with a good deal of consistency. And it makes me happy to go back and read old posts and remember all the thoughts and happenings that seem to fall out of my head as I speed through life. Last April was hot and not nearly as pretty as spring has been this year. There's a happy thing for you. And two years ago April we were thick in the middle of selling our house and life was um, stressful. There needs to be a bigger and better word for that, stress really doesn't cover it. So this April with my abundance of yoga and weather that has been all kinds of lovely I've definitely got a leg up.

There are days when I feel like Kit from Bowfinger with his "keep it together" mantra repeated ad infinitum like a maniac. But when I say my prayers the list of things to be grateful for is long. Very, very long. There's never going to be a perfect time in my life - it is life after all - but I'm grateful for the sweet things I have.

The color of spring is blue

2010/04/12

My mom is in town for a visit (yay!) and we capitalized on the opportunity and drove out last Saturday to see the hill country wildflowers. Nothing could have prepared me for how jaw droppingly beautiful it was. Last spring was a little lack luster on the wildflower front and I was a little disappointed that the fabled blue bonnets didn't come out to greet me as a new Texas resident. But this year more than made up for it. I guess you don't want your first year somewhere to be the absolute best, right?

We drove out towards Fredricksburg and stopped right before town to visit Wildseed Farms. Wow is all I can say. It's such a charming nursery to begin with, but the giant field of red poppies really won my heart. Definitely an annual trip from here on out. Their flowers are just amazing.


We had lunch in Fredricksburg and meandered about the shops a bit. Our primary mission was fudge and since they seem to have a candy shop on every corner that wasn't a very difficult task. (Last year the key lime fudge was my favorite, this year I think it is the praline.) On the way home we took a detour along the Willow City Loop. A 13 mile loop that is probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The pictures simply cannot do it justice. The sheer number of blue bonnets and other wildflowers was staggering. It was a simply georgeous day.


Long day in the car and the girls were pretty loopy (myself included) by the time we were done. But this was one time I thought the driving was worth it.

Books

2010/04/05

This week I am reading one book about a doctor dedicating himself to the underprivileged people of Haiti, another book about Religious Literacy and the lack thereof in America today, and yet another book about the moral issues related to modern meat production. I have a feeling I'm going to be a little fiery this week. Books make me happy. And occasionally a little indignant.

If you haven't heard from me by the end of the week, send in reinforcements with large amounts of chocolate and DVDs of mindless TV programming.

It's just hair

2010/04/01

Well, I did it. Last week actually but I've been having computer issues that kept me from posting until now. Yay for computers! I decided that it's just like me to go without coloring my hair my entire life and then jump straight to pink and purple rather that trying a normal color that looks like actual hair. I absolutely love it. Might have to be a signature look.