Mar 27, 2008

Book Review

I have ONE New Years Resolution this year that I can still remember and it is to "Read Less Crap". Or in other words, "Read More Classic Literature".

I've just started my first classic: "Howards End" by EM Forster. (So far, so good.) But that's not to say I've been reading crap. In fact, since January I've read quite a few excellent books:

First off: "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener
Around the time I moved here, (to the East Coast) my good friend and former Relief Society President, Linda Martin, recommended I read "Chesapeake". Since she has excellent taste and I always love her recommendations, I checked it out. Unfortunately, I was intimitated by it's sheer bulk and never started it. (I read on Wikipedia that Mr. Michener is said to "write by the pound.")
Finally, in December of last year, I decided to just do it. (I was probably inspired by a Nike commercial.) I got it from the library, and dug in. It took me a few chapters to get hooked, but soon I was engrossed. This is a novel that can be described by any and all of the following words or phrases: Epic, weighty tome, historical fiction, long, sweeping saga, really long, meticulously researched, super long, and/or bloody heavy to cart around.
Here is a blub from Wikipedia:
"The story deals with several families living in the Chesapeake Bay area, from 1583 to 1978. The storyline, like much of Michener's work, depicts a number of characters over a long time period. Each chapter begins with a voyage which provides the foundation for the chapter plot. It starts in 1583 with American Indian tribes warring, moves through English settlers throughout the 17th century, slavery and tobacco growing, pirate attacks, the American Revolution and the Civil War, Emancipation and attempted assimilation, to the final major event being the Watergate scandal. The last voyage, a funeral, is in 1978.
The novel has a number of central themes, such as religion, slavery, poverty, and industry, each
personified by a particular family that settles on the bay, and in some cases, by several families."
See what I mean? Long. And Heavy.
BUT I found it very interesting, and I was fascinated by the historical context.
Conclusion: It was a great book. You should especially check it out if you're an East-Coaster. But don't think you'll finish it in a weekend.

Next we have "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson
This was a birthday gift from my fabulous friend Wahine (known to some as Kristen R.). This book is comprised of a dying Pastors letters or "begats" to his young son. He knows he is dying and is trying to leave something of himself behind; Some of his experience, personal history, and wisdom. The book deals with some pretty heavy issues like theology, mortality, and forgiveness. Its themes gave me a few minor anxiety attacks (because I don't like thinking about death) but it was still a great and inspiring book and I can recommend it without reservation.

Third: "Blessings" by Anna Quindlen
Ms. Quindlen is a writer who I'm very familiar with in a different format. She writes "The Last Word" for Newsweek about twice a month. Considering I vehemently disagree with pretty much every word she writes in that area, (and can often be heard yelling at the magazine while reading her articles,) I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed her writing as a novelist. This was a quick read with a great premise. Although I didn't much care for the ending, I still enjoyed it and thinks it's worth the read. There were a few swear words but not a ton, and no R-rated scenes that I can recall.

Last, we have two books by Barbara Kingsolver: "The Bean Trees" and "Pigs in Heaven" borrowed from my friend Diane. (As was "Blessings")
I really liked these books. They were really quick and easy to read, with a great premise, local color, and a well constructed plot. One aspect of the books involves the Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee Nation Reservation in Oklahoma. Since I grew up with a Navajo Indian Foster Brother, I found this aspect of the books (especially in "Pigs in Heaven") extremely fascinating.
The only downside are a few s.e.x scenes (which, sadly, seem to pervade all popular adult fiction these days.) I don't know if I'd necessarily give these an R-rating. There are some adult themes and there is some s.e.x. But the s.e.x wasn't prevalent and was therefore easy to skip over. But I'd probably rate them PG-16 because frankly I don't think 13-year-olds are mature enough for these books!
Probably what I liked the most was how these books came together at the end with what I consider happy endings. I LOVE happy endings. I'm just cheesy that way. (But really, if I want un-happy endings, I'll watch the news.)
That's all for now. I'd love to hear what you think about these books if you've read them. If not, let me know what you HAVE read lately and what you recommend!

Happy Reading!

Word.

Mar 25, 2008

Easter High's and Low's

High:
My sister Jenny (Jay, Jay-Bird, Jennerator) and her family came to stay with us for a long weekend. We were sooooo happy to see them and my boys loooooooved seeing their cousins, Aunt Jenny, and Uncle Stu!
Low:
They only got to stay for a few days so we didn't have enough time to see and do everything we wanted! High:
We ate lots of yummy food including; Lobster (and other varied Seafood), homemade Ciabatta Bread and BBQ Chicken Pizza, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Lion House German Chocolate Cake (thanks Stu) and Easter dinner (which included Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, and homemade rolls).
Low:
We never got a chance to eat the New England Creamery "Martha's Vineyard Black Raspberry" Ice Cream I bought for them, didn't have time to make Ebelskivers or Eggs Benedict, and now have no one to share the 12 pounds of left-over ham!
High:
Jay and family got to see where we live, hang out at our beach, and visit Boston for the day.
Low:
Jenny twisted her ankle while in Boston and it turns out it's fractured. She'll be in a walking cast for the next 8-12 weeks. Which also happens to be how long she has left of her pregnancy.
High:
It was a great visit and we loved seeing them again.
Low:
I'm really sad that they're gone!!! WE MISS YOU GUYS!!!



Luckily, I have a whole half-gallon of "Martha's Vineyard Black Raspberry" Ice Cream to console me.

Mar 22, 2008

Happy Easter!!!


Mar 15, 2008

Under Construction!

OF COURSE you noticed my awesome new Masthead. It was created by my extremely talented friend Katie.


Katie and I worked together a long time ago in the same department at UVSC.

I bought her friendship with candy bars.

Then later she and her husband bought my house.

I got the better end of both deals.

(I wish she were here now to buy my current house.)

Back to the point: she has mad computer skills and she made me a cool masthead.
And she can make one for you to. She charges $100.
(Do you mind that I just started a business for you Katie?)
You only get this deal through me! Everyone else she charges $150.


AND if you call in the next 15 minutes, we'll throw in this set of Ginsu knives ABSOLUTELY FREE! Please make your checks payable to Emily Dub. (I'll make sure Katie gets plenty of candy bars!)


P.S. Katie is NOT addicted to candy bars. She only loves them as much as any other red-blooded American.

P.P.S. I'm still making changes to my blog. Pardon my dust.


(Sorry Chrissy! This is the best I could do.)

Mar 10, 2008

Baby Jamz!

Awhile ago my sister-in-law Laura got me this sweet new gig with a company called "Team Mom". Every once in awhile, they're gonna send me a kid-related product or toy for FREE and I'll review it on my blog. It's pretty much a win/win situation for everyone. (Did I mention I get stuff for FREE?!?) Well, I got my first box from Team Mom and it was sorta like Christmas.

The first product I've been asked to review is the...*drumroll please*
Baby Jamz Jammin' Microphone and the Baby Jamz Nursery Rhyme CD. This is a new hip-hop toy line created by the Family Knowles. The songs on the c.d. are old stand-bys like "This Old Man" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" but hip-hop-funkified.
I have only three words to describe it: Fresh to Death!

Now, being more of an 80's fan myself, I admit I would have preferred a toy synthesizer which played kid versions of "Just Can't Get Enough" and "Oh l'Amour" but we can't always get what we want. (But we get what we need.)

So what did the boys think? Before we even got the microphone out of the package, both Max and Sam were fighting over it and getting their hip-hop groove on. The mic amplifies your voice but also plays songs and lets you record your voice and play it back. It's the shizzle!


Once the C.D. was pumping the dance party began. Max was poppin' some SERIOUS moves. Arms were flying, heads rocking, and hips, um...gyrating? It was quite a sight.

If you love hip-hop and want to get your kids to get their groove on, you gotta get you some of this action in the hizzle. For rizzle. Oh no I di'nt. Oh yes I did.
video

(I missed Max's most SWEET dance moves and he couldn't be bothered to recreate them...but you get the idea.)

Oh yeah! You can get the goods at Wal-Mart!

Peace Out!

Mar 7, 2008

I've Strayed...

I've been cheating on you, dear Blog-with-the-Unpronounceable-Name! (What, you thought I could speak French? HA!)

Yes, that's right. There's a new blog in my life. It's just a baby and only has a few posts, but I'm hoping it will make all of my wildest dreams come true! Here it is: http://www.liveinwarwick.blogspot.com/.

As I'm sure you all know someone hoping to relocate to "Lil Rhody", please refer them to this site!

Mar 3, 2008

Raising Cain. I mean Sammy!

You may remember a few weeks back when I wrote about Sammy biting me (viciously, I might add) and I asked for your help and advice. WELL, don't let it hurt your feelings, but you were all worthless.
So a day or two after writing the post I asked Sam's preschool teacher for advice. (He goes 3 afternoons a week.) She referred me to the school director who, upon seeing me, said "You look like you need a hug!" (I did.)
I gave her the 411. (Do people even say that anymore?) I told her that most of our battles revolved around dressing for school. I told her Sam doesn't like getting dressed and when I try to dress him, he bites me. (Did I say "viciously" already?)

"OH!" she said "Don't battle him to get dressed!"

Me: "Okay, but he won't do it on his own."

Her: "That's okay! Don't fight him on it!"

Me: "He'll be coming to school naked."

Her: "That's okay! Bring his clothes along! He'll have to sit on his cubby until he decides to get dressed. He wont be able to participate until he's fully clothed."

Next day:
Sam woke up and took off his p.j.'s and Pull-up. Fortunately, he let me put underwear on him. I asked him if he wanted to get dressed and he said "No." A little later I asked if he wanted to get dressed for school. He said "No." I told him he'd have to go in his underwear and that it would be cold. Still "No."

Time to go to school. It's freezing outside. Sam choose not to get dressed and walked to the car in his shoes and snappy's.

We get to school. "Would you like to put your clothes on now Sammy?"

"NOOOOOOO!!!!"

"Would you like your coat on? It's very cold!"

"yes."

"Okay! Let's go!"

So we started the long walk up to his preschool; through the parking lot, up the long walkway and into the building.

One dad walking towards us looked down at Sam and let out a loud guffaw.

Here was Sammy, walking serenely towards school with his open coat showcasing his tummy and Thomas undies. Once we arrived I handed him off to the teacher at the door. She couldn't help it. She started laughing.

Sam glared.

The other teacher came to the door and she started laughing and said "Saah-mmy! Whaddaya doooing??? Wheh ahh ya clothes???"

Sam looked embarrassed.

He tried to hide behind me and I could tell he was getting a little embarrassed and flustered. Luckily, his favorite TA "Miss Dee" came to the rescue. She asked if he wanted to get dressed and when he--sheepishly--said "yes", she whisked him to a corner at the back of the room and helped him put his clothes on.

He hasn't bitten me since and is usually happy to get dressed in the mornings. (If his pants aren't too big, too small, too cold, or too scratchy.)

THE END

Next time on "Adventures in Child Rearing" learn about how one mom got her recalcitrant 3-year-old to buckle up by slamming her brakes on hard and repeatedly!

Now for your viewing pleasure, please watch this short clip of Sammy being photographed by Max. (Max didn't know the digital camera was set to "video".)



video