Wednesday, April 30, 2014

may book club


Shorts weather is upon us and it's less than a month before summer vacation begins.

This month for book club I picked Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

I spilled the beans that I had started it earlier this week in my currently post, but I'm not that far into it yet... so it's not a huge head start. ;)

But good news, so far I'm sucked in.

We'll meet back on the last day of the month to discuss.

Take your book outside and read it with a tall glass of lemonade.
(For your health.)

april book club discussion

can you even believe it?

So this month's book was Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

Okay, where to start...

So for me this book was a bit of a disappointment.

Hold on let me explain.
I initially listened to the audiobook, and I was really excited that the book was read by Sedaris when I downloaded it. I've read several David Sedaris books, and the reviews for this book were outstanding. So I was excited to download it and start listening to it. And I don't know if it was David Sedaris' voice or that what he sounded like didn't match what I was expecting... but it didn't work for me.
I think it might be like reading a book and then watching a movie where they cast all the wrong people who don't match up with how you imagined them at all.

Like I said, I have read several Sedaris books in college and was so excited to get this one. So I went into it with much higher expectations and was really bound to be disappointed on that point alone. It was much like when my mom finally let me go see Titanic and all I had heard all year in 5th grade was how amazing the movie was, and when I finally got to see it I just didn't see what the hype was all about.

So here I am just REALLY wanting to like this book. Like when you're favorite artist from high school comes out with a reunion album and you just want to like it SO BAD. But it's really... so bad.

Now I didn't think the whole book was terrible.
But the "Twelve Moments in the Life of an Artist" essay killed the whole flipping book for me.

Which is a shame beyond measure because it's the 4th essay in the dang thing.
My mom put the book down all together after that essay. "It started off strong but then lost momentum" she told me. And I had to agree. "It gets better!" I tried to explain... but she asked me to text my cousin for a book reference, clearly not trusting my recommendations anymore.

So I finished the audiobook and decided to go back and read the actual book (I'm telling you, I really wanted to like this book. this is no joke) and skipped the "Twelve Moments in the Life of an Artist" essay all together. Just straight pretended it didn't exist. And you know what? It was a much better book with the thing just not in there.

If you haven't read the book, it's a collection of memoir essays that are totally random and strung together under the umbrella of being all (loosely) about communication.

The second half of the book about living in France and struggling to learn the language, along with some outside view of Americans, were my favorite. Because you have to admit if you go to other countries and run into other Americans it's usually just about enough to make you regret being American all together.

This was my favorite:

So that's my thought on the book.

Any other ideas? I'm really interested to hear what others have to say. I'm split.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

chicago fish zoo

Big fans of aquariums over here. 

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago did not disappoint. 

May the record state that eels are officially the creepiest creatures on the face of this earth. I almost jumped out of my skin when I realized that hiding in the middle of what I thought was a patch of floating seaweed was the longest and fattest eel performing witch doctor spells on me against my will (I assume).  It took about 30 minutes to get my blood pressure back to normal after I realized that one; my nose right up against the glass and looking for the eel the sign claimed was in the tank while said eel was staring back at me and stealing my soul.

Also, seahorses are magical and jellyfish are hypnotizing.

We also learned that bright colored frogs are always up to no good. Avoid them at all costs. 

Belugas and otters are impossible to take pictures of.
And penguins will always have my heart.

See pictures from our trip to the Monterey Bay fish zoo here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


For the sake of whynots I'm going to mix up the format of my usual currently posts and this time replace it with a list. Because lists make me happy. 

Making: new memories every day.
Cooking: up plans for this summer and our travels (because there is a lack of any actual cooking).
Drinking: diet cherry coke.
Reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Wanting: a clean house.
Looking: for a good pair of jeans. 
Playing: Cat Stevens on the record player.
Wasting: trees in the form of paper towels. so many paper towels.
Wishing: I could do it all.
Enjoying: this slow Sunday morning.
Waiting: for a day with the perfect amount of wind to break in this new kite.
Liking: this wild almost-two-year-old phase. full of life and personality.
Wondering: what Sage will be like when he is older. 
Loving: the amount of books he wants to sit and devour this week.
Hoping: he will continue to love reading throughout his life.
Marveling: at the beauty of the Earth.
Needing: nothing.
Smelling: blueberry waffles.
Wearing: black.
Following: the leader.
Noticing: the time pass so quickly. as it always does.
Knowing: that everything will work out in the end.
Thinking: about everything that needs to be done.
Feeling: tired.
Bookmarking: summer vacation destinations. 
Opening: too many tabs at a time.
Laughing: at my own jokes.
Going: where the wind blows me.

and thank you Sydney for the list I used to make this post happen.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

the dentist, Indiana and death by standardized testing

A wind farm that we passed on our travels through Indiana and Illinois. Pretty cool things, these wind farms. 

Well I'm just going to sit down and start typing. Because I've decided that sometimes just hitting the keys and seeing what comes out is the best way to sort things out. Avoiding the backspace key. Finding out what is hiding in your own head when you're not even sure what you're thinking about.

This week has been busy. You know what, every week is busy in its own way, but this one has been busy in a different way. Flying home from Indiana on Monday and then spending the day in a leaned-back dentist chair on Tuesday. This may sound like a terrible fate to return home from vacation to, but the dental hygienist and I were laughing together as I got comfortable in the chair with my kindle on my lap and my earphones in my ears. A trip to get fillings and a crown is felt like a trip to the spa. Granted there were drills and mouth-vaccuums in there somewhere, but what I was really looking forward to was putting my feet up and listening to my audiobook.

Then Wednesday was back to school to prepare for standardized tests next week. Standardized tests. They are going to be the end of me, I say.

I started to let this post take a turn in that way. Talking about standardized testing. Talking about this test-heavy culture we have created. Typing out my frustrations watching 11-year-olds spend two hours a day for 4 days straight on a test. A test that shows if they are "smart enough". A test that shows if I'm a good enough teacher. A test that does not take into account their language abilities or their home life or their lack of home life, or for some of my students, even the lack of a home.

But no, that's as far as I'm going to go with that. For job security reasons and for hating to complain reasons and for getoffyoursoapbox reasons.

When I was in Indiana last week for spring break I have to say that I fell in love pretty fast and hard with Bloomington. All week I have been dreaming about picking up and packing up the baby and our little apartment and just putting down roots there. That's not really how life works, but it sounds really tempting. Telling someone this only led to the reaction, "Indiana??"

Yes, Indiana.

Gosh dangit, those people were just so friendly. I had a feeling it would be the place for me on our last leg of the plane there. I was sitting on the back row of the plane with the baby on my lap. The rest of the plane had filled up except for the two seats directly next to me. If there's one thing that will make people avoid you more than a bleeding rash completely covering your body it's a toddler on an airplane. Those seats are for the unluckiest of them all. The ones who have lost in the reaping. I tried to not let it get to me; people coming to our row, seeing Sage, and turning around to frantically find any other seat, overhead bin, or open bathroom that they might be able to claim instead. But lo and behold, an overly-tan couple sat down next to me, raving that they were so excited to have found two seats together after their flight from Cabo had been delayed.

I smiled and made a joke about babies keeping the people away.

"I want you to know that we love kids and we love traveling with kids."

That's all it took for me to feel so much better. To feel like the people of the world were good that that I didn't have a contagious disease.  Sage sat quietly on my lap the entire flight and ate snacks and watched movies and did puzzles on the iPad. We read books and looked out the window at the tiny lights below us. He was perfect. I wanted to shout "BOOYAH SUCKAS" as the plane descended into Indiana... but I didn't. When we landed and as we were waiting for our turn to get our bags and get off the plane, the couple next to us took a second to congratulate Sage on his stellar behavior. Then, the husband looked at me and said "you did great too, Mom."

Oh holy mother of Moses my heart just about leaped out of my chest. A complete stranger complemented me on my parenting right when I needed it. On cue the flight attendant came from the back and said that he was so impressed on how well behaved Sage was through the flight.

Just nice people, those Indiana folk.

And Bloomington was the little hippy center in the middle of this hospitable state. People who walk everywhere and ride bikes and buy local and recycle and hike. So many things to do outside. And everything is so green! I'm officially a big fan of Indiana.

Okay, enough typing for tonight.

I really want to get back into the habit of writing these posts. Those posts where I start out with nothing to say and end up with a stupid amount of words.

They're really good for my sanity.


a portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2014

FLAMINGOS, you guys.

I could really get into the whole bird watching thing if all birds were flamingoes. I mean, look at them = instant happiness. I just don't get that from a gull. 

I couldn't tear this guy away from those flamingos at the zoo. He could have stayed up on that fence watching them all day.


More information on the 52 project here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Tonight we had our very own jam sesh with Sage on the ukelele and Bob Dylan on the record player.

No more words -- just see for yourself.

Up and coming YouTube sensation or what?

So basically have a wonderful Wednesday and play some ukelele and sing some Bob Dylan. You don't need to be as serious about it as Sage, but what can I say? Baby boy is perfecting his craft. 

As for me, I'm watching The Bling Ring and drinking spiced tea, and if that isn't what dreams are made of I guess I don't know what is. This Chicago time jump has been pretty rough on us and we've been up at all hours of the night. I've been itching to get a good old-fashioned rambling blog essay out this week, but until my brain gets a full night's sleep that's out of the question. Mush. That's what my brain is. Pure mush. 

So expect some picture-heavy posts the next couple of days as I work my way through the ridiculous number of pictures from my spring break. I'll be taking a hacksaw to my photo archives and posting some Chicago and Indiana goodness. 

It was amazing, you guys. If we're being honest with ourselves I didn't want to come back at all. I could have happily missed my flight over and over again and been stuck there until the end of time. 

So I guess I better get back to my trashy teen movie and warm spiced goodness. Wouldn't want it to think I'm neglecting it or anything, trashy teen fake documentaries need love too, dontcha know?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

earth day nature walk

Today we had a weather cornucopia of rain, overcast skies, snow flurries and a small spurt of hail.  Basically all of the weather emojis were represented in today's forecast.  Give it to Nevada to be an equal opportunity spring weather provider. 

But Earth Day wasn't going to go uncelebrated around here. No way no how. 

I really really wanted to plant something. But with the sporadic snow flurries this week I decided to hold off on planting anything until this weather and its multiple personalities can figure itself out. 

Instead we waited for the sun to show its face and went on a walk. On our walk we made a nature jar filled with anything that stood out to this one-year-old. And if I know anything about this little boy, he loves treasures. So this was the perfect Earth Day activity for little hands. 

He found a rock with a spot of green spray paint, a stick that was a little too big, a leaf that didn't make the final cut and was replaced with a pine cone. He found another pine cone and stick that wasn't a little too big. And topped it off with a rock. I threw in tiny purple flower for good measure. He spotted a creek and chased a rabbit. He found a small hill and ran up and down and up and down the hill. He found a low pine tree to walk under then got nervous when the needles hit is face and went around said tree instead. He attempted to put pine cones back on a different tree. 

At the end of the walk we put the lid on the jar and thanked the earth for giving us a small pocket of sun so that we could enjoy Earth Day properly. 

Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

hoppy easter!

An attempt to get an Easter outfit picture of an almost-two-year-old hopped up on whoppers results in a much more accurate representation of church on Easter Sunday. 

Enjoy the day! 

Friday, April 18, 2014


a portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2014

Happiness is: 
bright colors, spring weather, and a slide. 

More information on the 52 project here.

cloud gate aka "the bean" in chicago

We spent the morning visiting the art museum (which ended with a glass-breaking scream on the photography and architecture floor, which could only have been the product of a "how many floors could this place possibly have" sort of one-year-old boredom... and sent us out the door running faster than any fire could have). 

After said emotional breakdown, Sage was in dire need of some time out of the stroller to stretch his baby legs. We stopped at cloud gate and let him out of his confines. 

He spent the beginning of the mini-adventure looking at himself in the mirror of the bean, then proceeded to run in circles away from me -- under the bean, around the bean, through the bean --  photobombing other tourists' pictures. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


This Wednesday we are in Chicago with Haydn celebrating Wednesday and celebrating spring break. So basically we are here to paint the town -- and all that jazz (get it...Chicago...the musical...are you laughing so hard right now?)

Today was full of of touristing and walking and taking pictures and freezing in the wind. We ate Chicago-style hot dogs and did some shopping. We saw a dinosaur skeleton which led to this dinosaur chomper. Now we are laying around in the hotel to get some sleep so we can get up and do it all again tomorrow.

Hope your spring break is fantastic! Happy Wednesday from all THREE of us this week!


Spring break!! 

Sage and I flew to see Haydn and Sean this week for spring break. Saturday we flew into Indianapolis, drove to their house outside of Indianapolis, then Monday morning we hopped into the car and headed to Nauvoo. This translates to: a lot of traveling in a short amount of time.

I died and went to old-timey heaven when we got to Nauvoo. 

Nauvoo is a town that lives in 1856 goodness. We toured all the shops and learned how people in that time made bricks, boots, and blacksmith-y things. We ate homemade fudge, then went back for more homemade fudge. Sage took a serious stroller nap while we toured the shops, which was perfect because I don't think he would have loved learning how bricks, boots and blacksmith-y things are made as much as I did.  We even met up with some friends that were visiting Nauvoo too. What the heck are the odds?? It's a small world and all that.

So Nauvoo has a show called "Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo" (and yes, I had to google search the spelling of the word rendezvous. Don't you hate when you can't spell something and autocorrect can't even figure out what you're trying to say??). Well in "Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo" the senior missionaries put on a free musical about the saints leaving Nauvoo for Utah. It was fantastic. Like I said -- old time-y heaven.

Now we're in Chicago and about to go off to do some more exploring! 
Wish us luck. While everyone else is laying on the beach for spring break I'll be off being a tourist and freezing my buns off. 

But while I do that, here are some pictures of our time in Nauvoo: