Thank you


Sometimes I find it hard to fully articulate my days on this here little blog. And when I reach out and explore the words of others sometimes I see a whole new perspective and that benefits me. And sometimes I read a post that is spot on the truth of my heart and that is a balm for my soul. So thank you to the bloggers of the world that enrich and support me. Thank you for sharing it it all, good and bad. It means everything...

I Heart Stars :-)


My Name is Asher Lev


My Name Is Asher LevMy Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this is the third time I've read this gem and it gets better every time. Definitely one of my all time favs. I could discuss it forever and never truly resolve all the questions it brings up - the hallmark of a great book.

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Moment of the day 8.25.2011


This is a metaphor for my day.

Every last time


My pillow. Sinking in. Pulling the covers up tight. So glad I have the whole night ahead of me for dreaming...


Moment of the day 8.23.2011


I am hoping that if I start to work more on Tessa's blanket then this oppressive heat will abate so it can be used. Wishful thinking?

First Day!


It was a pretty stress free day on all fronts. 2nd and 5th Graders in the house this year, that seems impossibly far along in the time line. The girls both have male teachers this year. Sylvie actually has Tessa's 2nd grade teacher and we think he is all kinds of awesome. And Tessa is in the classroom right above Sylvie; she reports that her teacher is thus far great. That is a lovely amount of symmetry for me and I will take it as a sign that it will be a fabulous year.

Moment of the day 8.20.2011


Eating with the fam at the beautiful Driskill Hotel. I've fallen in love with these star chandeliers above me. Love stars...

Moment of the day 8.19.2011


Ice cream for dinner!

Emotional memories


How many listens does it take for an album to be permanently memorized, a part of your heart? I listen to a lot of music these days (read: more than anyone I've ever come across other than actual paid music critics) but none of it really has a chance to burrow deep into my heart like those lovely albums that were the first members of my collection. After years without listening, I came across one of my first favorites today. A dear friend gave it to me in college and it got many, many listens as my CD collection was probably under a dozen titles at that point. And every word is still there in my head. Takes me back to my freshman year when life was *good*. Lots of not-quite-a-girl-almost-grown-up thoughts formed in my head while listening to Sarah in the dark of my bedroom. Love, love, love this track:

August, you are not my favorite

Things are a little rocky here on the Amber front. It's actually been a pretty great summer. I usually dread the lack of structure and dealing with work/kids at the same time, but all in all, it's been really quite lovely. It's just the past week or so I seem to be falling apart when it comes to that positive attitude thing. My reserves are tapped out.

Today seems to be the nadir. There's a whole dynamic at work where I'm, shall we say, dissatisfied. That seems like a nice safe word for a public forum. I honestly love what I do so when it ends up getting garbled or simply not mattering, that's a recipe for extreme frustration. Add to that some information from a former co-worker about *amazing* initiatives and progress happening at another college - I'm beyond happy for him and immensely proud. And jealous to the point of depression.

And of course there's the fact that I've been spectacularly lazy the past two weeks and have been sleeping in late and skipping workouts. I always know this will make me grumpy but my pillow has been absolutely irresistible. Have I mentioned that I love sleep? School starts next week so I know my time is limited - might as well revel in it, eh? The good side (other than the blissful time under my covers) is that I am now depressed enough from inactivity that I've got a good bit of motivation to kick it up a notch.

Oh and I can't forget that it's been an absolutely brutal summer. Crazy records for dryness and heat both. Even after close to a decade in Phoenix, this summer is freaking me out. My yard is total trash and I'm just wondering how many things are permanently dead. Makes me feel panicked, this lack of rain.

Okay, that's enough depression for today. Here's to a brighter tomorrow! I am never without hope...

Moment of the day 8.14.2011


Tessa is cooking her very first dinner. Mandarin shrimp and vegetable stir fry. Yum.

Today I Smile


Such a resurrecting feeling a good smile or laugh can be.

Physics for Future Presidents


Physics for Future PresidentsPhysics for Future Presidents by Richard A. Muller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This should be required reading. Just so interesting and so important to really understand the science behind some of the big ticket issues in politics today. You know, those fact things. I found it completely readable and interesting. I could use a second pass at it because there is just so much information I'm sure only a fraction sunk into my noggin. The only wish I had was that the author had included more infographics to explain the principles. He did a lot of raw numeric comparisons and that kind of information does not sink in for a visual person like me.

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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich


One Day in the Life of Ivan DenisovichOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The detail and perspective in this book is pretty amazing - it is obvious the author dealt with the experiences first hand. I can't say I found it riveting the entire way through. It felt very ordinary other than the exceptional fact that it takes place in a work camp. It's the ordinary and even tone that I find most interesting about this book. Almost anything can become "normal" as we embrace our circumstances.

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Party On

Party time! Sylvie went through many iterations of how she wanted her party to go. Her first thought was a costume party at home, then a "crazy party" at home idea, but in the end the allure of the bounce house won out. We ended up with tons of friends, lots of sugar, and a few friction burns from the slides. Good times.

The cupcakes would have been the cutest ever if the frosting had been more cooperative. In the end the clouds slid off the sides of the cupcakes leaving the rainbows and kind of sad and flat. Which was about how I felt after dealing with all the preparations and the stupid, stupid, relentless heat. After last year's cupcake-cake that kind of sort of looked like the lady bug that Sylvie wanted, I may have to hang up my cupcake making hat for good.

Ah Sundays...


Sundays, Sundays, Sundays...

Blue Hole

I headed out with my girls, mom, and sister to Hill Country this week and played a while at Blue Hole in Wimberley. There is no way to overstate what a great day it was. The swimming hole is just incredibly beautiful - totally shaded, cool water, no bugs, perfect in every way. We got there right as it opened so Xandy and I had a chance to play with the big swing before people assembled and we lost our nerve. Then we set up chairs in the shallow end and pulled out the floaties to idle a few hours away while Tessa worked the kids swing over and over and over. I've never really been to a bona fide swimming hole - totally makes you feel like a kid again. I can't believe it took me this long to find this little gem, we will certainly be back.



The end of vacation can be difficult for most kids, but Sylvie got to come home to birthday weekend! Plus my mom and sister were house sitting for us so it was like a whole new vacation awaiting for us. Sylvie requested Canoli Joe's for her birthday feast and a feast it was. I made her a chocolate brownie trifle for her treat. I love this girl!

Summer Vacation 2011: Family

We spent a day at Bear Lake with Dave's family. It was of course gorgeous weather (jealous yet?). The lake is at record height this year and there was only a few inches of beach and super cold water, but still tons of fun to be had.

We spent the day after at Dave's brother house eating and chatting with all the fam. Dave's oldest brother wasn't able to make it as his car died on his way driving from Colorado and that was a disappointment, but it was still good catching up with family.

Summer Vacation 2011: Park City

We took a day away and headed over to Park City to ride the Alpine Slide and Alpine Coaster. I've been wanting to do this for years since I remembered loving it so much the one time I did it as a kid. Definitely a pricey day but sooooo much fun. The weather was once again phenomenal and just being up in that mountain air was the very definition of vacation.

Beautiful voice in my head

I can't get Adele's voice out of my head this week. Love her first album and love the newest. Love...

Summer Vacation 2011: Salt Lake


We spent our second weekend in Salt Lake. Salt Lake is a city I love for sure, always feel nostalgic there.

Touring the grounds at Temple Square. It is more beautiful each time I go. I love the flowers, I love the buildings, I love all the exhibits. I love the spirit there.

We took a nice leisurely drive up one of my favorite canyons, Millcreek. It would have been perfect for some hiking, but Dave was running a marathon the next morning and Sylvie was a grump so we just enjoyed it from the car. Loooove this place. Having the canyons so close makes me consider moving back to Utah (the consideration is fleeting).

Dave ran his fifth marathon. Starting at the top of the mountains and ending up down town Salt Lake. Not kind on the knees, but beautiful from his description. We spend the day in Salt Lake taking it easy and hanging out with our good friend Jacob and his cutie girls.

Summer Vacation 2011: Ogden

We spent our first weekend in Ogden. Sometimes it feels like a foreign place with only fuzzy memories and sometimes I get that hometown feel that takes me back.

Hanging out with our friends the Shupes. Mini golf, fun with games, a little splash park action and a yummy BBQ.

The fireworks at WSU were one of the things on my wish list for this trip. I haven't been since I was a teenager and it was a lot of fun. The girls very much loved it.

We took the girls out to Antelope Island and stuck our feet in the Great Salt Lake. It was a little cloudy and it made for some beautiful landscapes.

We had dinner at Dave's brother's house and their two youngest boys fell right in step with our girlies. Cousin fun!

Summer Vacation 2011: The Uintahs

There is little I love more in this world that mountains, aspens, mountain streams and lakes. We went on two lovely hikes while staring in Evanston. They were both breathtakingly beautiful. We were hoping to make it on a few more, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, the snow hasn't completely melted and many trails are still closed. Que sera sera.

Lilly Lake

Ruth Lake

Moment of the day 8.2.2011

Big Top! Butter pecan truffle! Sugar is obviously my drug of choice.

Oh, and so lovely to have my mom and sis visiting this week. They house sat for us while we were on vacation and now we are having a lovely little week together. Yay!