Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Update

Sigh. I miss my computer. Getting online on Aleigha's laptop is just not the same. I have not felt like posting lately because I get tired of being on her computer; hence the ten days in between posts, which is something that does not happen very often for me. So. Here is an update.

We really like our new ward. Approximately 23910 people have introduced themselves to us in the last couple weeks--we've been there a month now, but I figure that it took them two weeks to realize we weren't just random visitors--and they are all super friendly. I have a really hard time catching people's last names when they introduces themselves, so I don't actually know who the people are that we've met, but it's great that we're meeting them. Also, we talked to the bishop and he's going to be helping us out with our situation right now, so that is somewhat of a relief.

I have a few books to catch up on in the way of reviews:


The Sojourner, by Marjorie Rawlings--6/10. This was an interesting book. Last month it was my dad's turn to pick the genre for book club, and instead he decided to pick one book and have us all read it (and I assume you've figured out that this was it). It took me a long time to read, and was a bit frustrating because I would read and feel like I'd been reading for a long time, but then only have read like five pages. It's about a guy named Asahel whose family lives on a farm. The book opens on his father's funeral, and then shortly after his brother Benjamin leaves because he's not interested in being a farmer. His mother is a really awful person who loves only Benjamin, so she spends the rest of her life making Asahel's life difficult and waiting for Benjamin to return, slowly going crazy because he doesn't. In any case, most of what I want to say about this book is this: if you start reading it, make sure you finish, because otherwise it's just a book where horrible things happen for no reason. There is resolution in the ending, so keep going once you've started. It's a good book, but I can't really say I like it.


The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, by Trenton Lee Stewart--9/10. If it is possible, I love this book even more than the first one! There's a third one in the works but it won't be out until October, so I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival (along with the next Georgia book).


The London Eye Mystery, by Siobahn Dowd--6.5/10. This book is about a kid, Ted, who has some kind of syndrome (which they neglect to name throughout the book) that makes his brain "run on a different operating system" than everyone else's, which means that he's really smart but other people don't always understand him. Anyway Ted's cousin Salim comes to visit and they go up on the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel, and when it comes down he's disappeared from it. Ted and his sister Kate have to figure out what happened on their own because of course the adults don't listen to them, and they don't usually get along but they do for the sake of their cousin and it's all very fantastic. I've read better books, but I enjoyed this one and it went very quickly too. 


The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl--4/10. Haven't finished this yet, but so far I am thoroughly unimpressed so I'm not feeling like I'm gonna write a full post for it. My brother has this on his summer reading list and I am having a hard time figuring out why it would be required reading. I thought it looked fantastic and have actually been meaning to read it for a little while now, but I am almost 300 pages in now and the amount of action that has occurred could (and should) truly have been fit into 100. Also, the main character/narrator is highly irritating. I'll hold off on rating it until I'm finished though... I think I'm hoping that the final mystery will be so great it'll make up for all the rest of it.
[Update: I finished and it got a little better at the end because the narrator became less manic and therefore less irritating... but it was still ridiculously longer than it should've been.]


The Black Company, by Glen Cook--6.5/10. Mike has been bugging me to read this for a while and of course I thought why on earth would I read it, but it turns out I actually enjoyed it. It was a tiny bit cruder than I would prefer, but only a bit. The Black Company is a company of mercenary soldiers and the book is about their adventures and wars and stuff. Pretty good, I would actually recommend it for some of you (but not all). Ask if you're interested.


So! Now I am caught up. I have also begun to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, for which I have high expectations because of Lindsey's rave review. More to come in that department.

And, finally, OH MY GOODNESS. Megan, I think you tried to show this to me a while ago and I can't remember if it was an email or a text, but apparently I didn't get to check it out when I received whatever it was. I laughed so hard. It is a blog about "unnecessary" quotes, and here are a couple of my favorites:



Poor, poor Canada.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Something Amazing!

Okay kids. You don't have to know me well at all to know that when I saw this title as I was browsing through the cookbooks, I couldn't not pick it up.



This amazing book is a collection of "Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature," and includes "the Passages That Feature Them". Incredible! I laughed a little bit when I looked at it, but then I didn't see any recipes that intrigued me when I glanced through it, so I was about to put it back when I looked at the back. These are some of the recipes included in the book, and featured on the back cover:
Jo's Best Omelette, from Little Women
Macaroni and Cheese, from The Accidental Tourist
Merry Punch, from Pride and Prejudice
Not Violet, but Blueberry Pie, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Daddy's Rich Chocolate Cake, from Fatherhood (by Bill Cosby)

How can I not try these recipes?? (In case the last one is a bit of a mystery to you, I should explain that my parents have always been unable to talk about chocolate cake without singing a little song that goes "daddy's great, gives us chocolate cake!" and which comes from this bit by Bill Cosby, wherein he describes how his kids think he's awesome because he gives them chocolate cake for breakfast, claiming that cake has eggs and is therefore an acceptable breakfast food. They've sung it ever since we were little, but we never knew where it came from until this past year.)

Well, that is all I have to say about it for now; I just felt I should share. And don't worry, as soon as I try any of these recipes I will let you know how they turn out!

P.S.-- Upon further study, this amazing cookbook o' genius has revealed these also-incredible recipes:
Pancakes, from Where the Sidewalk Ends
Waffles, from Postcards from the Edge
Orange-Poppy Seed Tea Cakes, from The Importance of Being Earnest
Chestnut Stuffing, from A Wrinkle in Time
Pork Roast with Cabbage, from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Monday, July 13, 2009

Something New

In addition to my book review posts, I've decided to start rating my books on a scale of 1 to 10. I went back and edited the posts for the books I've done since I started the book reviews; however, there are a few books (mostly ones I consider favorites) that I never wrote official reviews for, but which I would still like to include in the system, so I am going to rate them here.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart--8
Digging to America, by Anne Tyler--7
The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt--9
Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson--7
The Westing Game, by Ellen Rankin--8
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith--9
Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card--8
Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow--9
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver--10
The Ruby in the Smoke, by Philip Pullman--8
Fablehaven, books 1-4, by Brandon Mull--8
the Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling--10
the Georgia Nicolson books, by Louise Rennison--10
The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler--8
Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen--7
Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss--9
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norman Juster--9
The Kitchen God's Wife, by Amy Tan--8
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See--8
Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott--8
the Wheel of Time books, by Robert Jordan--7
the Gemma Doyle books, by Libba Bray--8

If you're ever looking for something to read, go to my labels and click on the 8-10 or 6-7 categories. As a general rule, I would recommend any of the books with those ratings without hesitation, especially ones in the 8-10 range. I only ask that you pleeeeease let me know if you read any of them, because I love hearing about it! :) The end.

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart--9/10

Oh I loved this book! It was so fun to read. It caught my interest at Barnes and Noble a couple months ago so I looked it up to see if my library had it, but then I hesitated to start it because it's a pretty good-sized book and I thought it was a little too big to be read along with all the other things I'm in the middle of. But. Then it happened to be in the last time I was at the library, and I remembered that it had had several holds the last time I looked for it, so I thought I should take advantage of its being there. After a couple days I picked it up, and I hardly put it down again until I was done! It was really a great book and I absolutely recommend it.
It's about four kids--Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance--who are basically geniuses, and who are recruited by a man named Mr. Benedict for a special and very dangerous secret mission. That's about all the information it gives on the cover, and that's all I needed to become interested, so that's where I'll leave it for you. Let me know if you get a chance to check it out. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Father Bear has his feathers in a bunch...

Well life is interesting right now. We managed to end up paying $50 for a game we never played and no longer have (sold it on eBay, shipped it, got lost in the mail, had to give a refund to the person who bought it). We're late on our bills, still have no TV and no internet, and have an almost empty fridge. 
In other news, we're chaperoning a giant party Benjamin is throwing on Saturday while my parents are out of town, which I'm sure will be a grand time. Hannah's family is back from vacation so I've been busy again this week, and Mike is getting a haircut tonight! My parents are going to a weird round cabin thing in the Ozarks for a few days to celebrate their 25th anniversary, which was Tuesday.
I think that about sums things up for now. Now I have to go figure out how to use the Fraziers' vacuum. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When Jeff Goldblum passed away, a little bit of all of us died. I will be missed.


Thank you Megan, for posting this video that I may love it.


How I love Jeff Goldblum. This next video is one of my favorites of his roles! It's a little long but I couldn't find a shorter cut, so this is the best we have.



You know who else I love? Adrien Brody. Mike and I went to see The Brothers Bloom last week with my parents, and we all loved it. So, thanks to that lovely movie and that fabulous video, I am now looking these two up on IMDB and making a list of movies I wish to see starring them.

While we're on the subject, I have a confession to make. It turns out I might be a little bit of a snob. You see, I have always prided myself on having unique celebrity crushes. For one thing, in the first place I don't really get celebrity crushes (at least not since my sophomoreish year of high school, when I will admit I had quite silly ones). There are some actors I really like, and I generally call them celebrity crushes just because. But for another thing, my "celebrity crushes" are not on people like Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Zac Efron, or whoever else is hot these days. They are on people like Jeff Golblum, Adrien Brody, and John Cusack, who I like not for their attractiveness but because I think they are fabulous actors and I love movies/roles I've seen them in. 

Anyway, that's all. I wanted to post a clip from The Brothers Bloom but there don't seem to be any up yet, just the trailers.  Here is one just in case you're interested.




P.S., here's something amusing: I came across this review when I was looking up Jeff Goldblum movies. 
OMG! 6.2/10! THIS MOVIE WAS HORRIBLE! 

Really? I don't think I trust this person's judgment very much if that's how they rate movies they think are HORRIBLE.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Something That Sucks

When I was growing up, half the time all I wanted was to be able to get away from my family. You know, they were loud and arguing and just always there. Even though I loved them all and had lots of fun with them, when you have a big family it's just a natural thing to want to be by yourself sometimes.
Then I went to college and got to be away from my family for five years. I loved living on my own and being at BYU, but I would miss them a lot, and I really looked forward to going home on vacations. As I got married and left school, I started thinking about being able to live by my family again, and I was really excited when that happened.
But then, wouldn't you know it, I had just acquired a second family that I now had to leave in order to get my own family back. You wouldn't think it'd be that hard to leave them, right? because they're my in-laws, and I've only known them for a couple years. If only that was the case. I look at their pictures on Facebook because I want to see the kids grow up and everything, but then it makes me really sad that I'm not there.
So my question is, why is there no easy way to have all my family around at once? It's so expensive to visit them, at this point there's no way we can afford it more than once a year. Family's always been really important to me, and it has been even more since I left high school. I love to be able to hang out with them. My two favorite things about living in Utah were spending Sunday nights with Mike's family eating dinner and playing games, and hanging out or going places with Dan and Candice and the kids. Now they have a baby Mike and I won't get to meet until he's six and a half months old, and meanwhile the girls are getting older and Cillian is not a baby anymore! It's really lame.
Well, that is that I guess. When there's something you hate that you can't do anything about, what else is there to do but blog about it?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Boy and Seventy-Seven Clocks

First Boy, by Gary Schmidt-- I'd been looking for something light to supplement my two bigger books, The Sojourner and Seventy-Seven Clocks, but I didn't have any specific ideas so I decided to look for something by one of the authors of the books I read recently. I loved The Wednesday Wars, and I'd already read the other Gennifer Choldenko the library has, so I picked up First Boy. The book is about a boy, Cooper Jewett, who lives with his grandfather on a dairy farm right after his grandmother has died. His grandfather dies within the first few pages of the book, and then weird things start happening--people break into his house and search his grandfather's den, the barn burns down, he sees black sedans all over town. It's one of those frustrating stories where bad things keep happening, but there's a good amount of warm fuzzies and comeuppance at the end, so it's all good. I give it a 6.



Seventy-Seven Clocks, by Christopher Fowler-- This is a British mystery about two detectives who work in the Peculiar Crimes Unit, which means that all of their cases are really bizarre. It was fun to read and actually went a lot faster than I'd thought it was going to based on how big it was (almost 500 pages). Basically it starts out with a murder and crazy things keep happening that seem totally unrelated, but it's a mystery book so of course they are all related and gradually the detectives figure out how. It's a fun read, and I give it a 7.

Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey--9/10

I love this book.
I checked it out after seeing Janssen's blog post about it, but it didn't really catch my attention so it sat next to my bed for about a week. Then one day I flipped to a random page in the middle and just started reading (it was the part where the dad describes his bathing system for avoiding unnecessary delay) and I thought it was so fun that I started from the beginning and finished the book the next day.
This book makes me want to have tons of kids and teach them a lot of really random things in very eccentric ways! I love the Morse code and the Victrolas to teach them German while they brush their teeth and the purchasing committee and the graph paper on the wall so they can see a million things all at once.
Also, I love Frank Gilbreth Sr. He's a much more interesting character than Steve Martin in the movie (like Janssen said, the book bears very little resemblance to the movie). The book goes really quickly and is just heart-warming and funny the whole way through.