Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Report

I am always looking for a good book to read. My friend Stacy and I were talking about this the other night, and promised to share our recommendations with each other. So Stacy, this post was inspired by you. Here are some books I've really enjoyed reading:

The Good Earth by Pearl Buck

A wonderful classic that I sadly hadn't heard of until it made it on Oprah's book club. Thanks, Oprah. The tale of Wang Lung and O-lan trying to make a life in pre-industrial China was so engaging and so moving.

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Okay, is this another Oprah book? Maybe. A beautiful story of forgiveness and redemption. If you didn't have to read it in high school, read it now.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

An unusual, powerful story about a boy learning to cope after he loses his father in the 9-11 attacks.

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Non-fiction. I struggle with non-fiction, but I found this discussion about how technology is making the world smaller very interesting.

Wild Swans by Jung Chang

More non-fiction. But one of those books that proves that real life is stranger (and more horrific) than fiction. An autobiography of sorts of 3 generations of women living in China.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

A historical fiction based on the lives of the Mirabel sisters who participated in an underground plot to overthrow the Dominican Republic's dictator.

The Street by Ann Petry

A powerful, engaging but ultimately tragic story about a single black woman raising a son during the 1940s. I heard about this book on NPR, and I think it is one of the best books I have ever read. The story is compelling, heart-wrenching, powerful.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This book is a nice contrast to The Street - it is also about an impoverished family trying to survive, but is more hopeful and optimistic.

Life of Pi by Yann Matel

A story about a boy stranded on a life-boat with a tiger, and also a story about faith, God, and religion.

My Antonia by Willa Cather

The story of several immigrant families who move to rural Nebraska to start new lives for themselves. Kind of like Little House on the Prairie for grown-ups.

Okay, that's my list. What's yours?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Then and Now

Me, approx. 10 weeks pregnant

Me, today, approx 35 weeks pregnant

What a difference 25 weeks can make!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bird Imitations and Other Non-Sequiturs

Every now and then, my dad will respond to something by saying, "That's it? Bird Imitations?" For a long time this response completely bewildered me, but, not wanting to be rude, I would just smile and nod. Finally, I learned that this baffling response was actually the punch line to a joke my dad knows, and that, in the context of the joke, it is used to express an underwhelmed attitude toward something rather extraordinary.

My dad is not alone in making references to outside material in everyday conversation. I've noticed that I do it a lot. Most of these references are to movie or television lines, and it is always delightful when an opportunity to fit one of these lines into conversation arises. Bubba and I have several lines we frequently use. Among our favorites: "That's why he's the judge and I'm the law talking guy", "You'll make a fine little helper, what's your name?", "It's already won the Pulitzer Prize, and it hasn't even been pooblished", "That just happened", "60 percent of the time, it works everytime", "Your mom goes to college", "Milk was a bad choice", "He's proud of his town."

If you recognize any of these lines, I bet you're smiling right now. If you don't recognize these lines, you're probably bored out of your mind. And that's the danger in incorporating an outside reference in everyday conversation - context is important. If your audience doesn't understand the context of the line you're quoting, confusion is inevitable.

This is why, on a trip to the grocery store with my in-laws, it wasn't wise of me to use the tag line from a Tostitos commercial when we were discussing where to meet up. For whatever reason, the situation prompted me to throw out the slogan "Meet you at the Tostitos," even though I had no intention of converging in the chip aisle. When Bubba suggested we head to the chip aisle after we had purchased our groceries, I knew I had violated a cardinal rule of quoting a line in a conversation.

The moral of this post: quote carefully, and know your audience.

That being said, what are some of your favorite lines?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Beyond Elementary

Who would have thought that having a college degree could come in handy as a stay-at-home mom? This week I've been grateful to have some knowledge of subjects way beyond an elementary school level. For example...

CIVICS - This subject helped me identify Henry's incorrect response to the question :"What will you do when your baby sister comes?" Among his answers were: A) Kiss her , B) Hold her, C) Push her down . Obviously, "C" was the incorrect answer. Now if only I can convince Henry of that...

NUTRITION AND FOOD SCIENCE - This subject helped me prepare a diet for Henry that resembles the Food Pyramid formerly found on the back of cereal boxes. Lets see... I think all of the groups are covered - Crunch Berries, Wheat Thins, and Ritz Bits. Finish it all off with an Oreo Cookie and Henry's good health is basically guaranteed.

LITERARY THEORY - This subject allowed me to save minutes of time when Henry selected a very wordy book from the library. My impressive knowledge of literary structure and form allowed me to reduce 3 paragraphs to a mere one sentence without compromising the content of the text.

Reasoning and Rational Decision Making - This subject allowed me to extricate Henry from the toy aisle of Target by reasonably explaining to him that we did not need to add another toy to the mountain he received at Christmas. This reasoning clearly worked, as we were able to exit the store that day. Unfortunately, said exit was preceded by a wild chase down the aisles, severe crying, and me balancing Henry precariously on my pregnant belly while also navigating the shopping cart.

GEOMETRY - This subject came in handy when, after a quick trip to the basement to do the laundry, I arrived at our apartment door to find that Henry had decided to lock the deadbolt. My re entrance to our apartment was much aided by repeated requests for Henry to look for the "top circle" and to turn the "line." After several minutes of these geometric commands, the line was finally turned and Henry and I enjoyed a sweet reunion. Just for the record, it was found that hysterical yelling and kicking of the door were ineffective methods for re entrance.

I don't know. After this week, I'm beginning to think I may need an advanced degree.

Friday, January 9, 2009

On second thought....

Now that my blog is private, I was really, really tempted to post a picture of Bubba that is a little scandalous... but my conscience got the best of me. And no, Chelsea, Bubba is not a never-nude. But I wouldn't mind seeing him in a pair of really short jean cut-offs, like these:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


So...we all knew this day would come. Or not. But, I have decided to make my blog private. This decision was reached primarily for 2 reasons: 1) I have mild concerns about on-line predators. Although, if I do have an on-line lurker, s/he probably accounts for 1 of the 3 readers of this blog. 2) I really, really want to post more pictures like this, expect with less clothing:

So... if I have your email, expect an invitation. If I don't have your email address and you'd like an invitation, please email me at or leave your email in the comments. Thanks!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Imagination ran away with a spoon

This morning Henry, who has recently taken occupancy in our bed at night, woke us up by excitedly asking, "What's that spoon doing?". Bleary eyed, I asked him, "What spoon?" "That funny spoon," he said, "lets catch him." Further questioning brought forth even more bizarre comments from Henry, such as "spoon has legs and feet" and "spoon going out the window." I think he knew we were beginning to understand him when we asked about the dish and the cow jumping over the moon. "Lets get that cow," he said. We opted for reading him nursery rhymes from "My First Mother Goose" instead.