Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Categories: swishina | Books

Books I've read, Reviews


Reading: Last year I made a goal to read 12 books. I made it to ten. This year I made a goal to read 12 books and I’ve already read 19. I’m such a binge reader.

Power of Moments: My friend recommended a book called The Power of Moments. I devoured it and John is also reading it. The book explains how to create more memorable moments in your life. Chiefly relevant to us, and the children were raising, are moments of elevation, which can be made by adding sensory elements, or surprise, that sort of thing. We’re trying to plan more fun things for our kids since life is kind of boring right now. I tend to be the soul-sucking voice of reason, but luckily I’m married to a fun, creative, out of the box thinker.

Pita Show: Maggie has been reading The Hunger Games and got the movies for Christmas, so we watched the first three over winter break. Sienna loved them and was begging for more "Peeta Show" all the time. I can never tell with that girl; she refused to watch The Addams Family with us because of the disembodied hand on the cover.

Finding a Friend in the MIrror: In cleaning out my desk. I found a paper with notes from the book Finding a Friend in the Mirror by Shane Barker. It's even dated 6/10/01. I found the notes I took very interesting, and also great advice for just about anyone! Be happy!

Influence and example - you make a difference
Talents and abilities
you're somebody's best friend, favorite person.
Don't compare when you're unalike - different skills and talents
Think of what you are, not what you're not.
appreciate your worth
Think only good thoughts - think of successes
Always be at your best
Pat yourself on the back

Don't get caught up in what's wrong in your life - look for the good.
Concentrate on what you do have
No one is perfect
You can have fun when it rains

3 things you're proud of (accomplishments)
3 things right about you
turn faults into assets
List things you worry about yourself - try to do something positive with them

Finding talents:
consider what you like
analyse it
try it
use it, polish it, use it to bless lives
pray for guidance

Try everything
try an interest or talent of a friends
Make a long list of things you've never done
Try three this week.
Don't let fear stop you.

Don't miss out because you're afraid
ask - you never know
do it NOW!

Plan tomorrow, next week, next month, next year
think of areas you want to improve
What do you want to achieve
What can you do right now.
review often

If you can't find happiness or success now, you won't be able to later
Don't wait for a better opportunity
Picture the type of person you'd like to be - then Start Now

Confidence -believe in yourself

Don't give up when everything seems against you.
Fight back. Make the came-from-behind win.
Don't give up!
Fight Back!

Find people who look on the bright side, love life, love people
Join large groups of people

Find activities that make it hard not to be happy.
Don't mope in front of the TV, get your heart pounding
Or maybe a certain place

Make someone's day brighter.

Maggie, The Lion, and The Witch: When I discovered Maggie was rereading Rainbow Magic Fairy books, I got out the Narnia series, told her what it was about, and gave her the first book to read. She trudged along for her daily reading, with the promise of a movie at the end. Today she finished, and she told me she read four chapters today. She's finally excited about a book! We started the movie tonight, and she asked me to get out the next book for her so she could read it when she wakes up.

Vapid: I recently read an article about how early learning (or putting kids in preschool so you can go back to work) Allows kids to be "social" but not socialized. Apparently, to be properly socialized, you need to first have a strong self-identity.

They used the example of a teacher in a staff meeting who disagrees with what is being discussed but doesn't speak up. Everyone thinks she's nice and she gets along with everyone (never voicing, or perhaps never even having differing opinions). And I realized, that's totally me. I'm the nice person everyone gets along with, because why shouldn't they? I've never said anything they don't like.

I'm not sure this is because I started school too young. I entered Kindergarten at four, which was the case for September birthdays in California through... next year. No preschool. No "early learning." No day care. Nothing to blame my lack of personality on. Hah!

I think part of this stems from the fact that there are very few people with whom I agree on both religion and politics.

I challenge myself to speak up next time I disagree. And I even foresee a situation. Awesome.

Additionally, Maggie seems to be the kid everyone likes but no one is friends with. We've heard this (in not so many words) from both of her teachers so far. I think it's because she's just an all-around nice girl, and she doesn't at all lack confidence. Or seem to have trouble expressing different opinions...

The House-Elves of Hogwarts.: I finished re-reading all the Harry Potter books, and watching all the movies (a quest I began in October). Now that I know the story, I was able to concentrate on how great the writing is, and noticing all sorts of seemingly unimportant details in the books, especially The Half-Blood Prince. I also, apparently, didn't really remember The Deathly Hallows. I think this was only the third time I read this one, and the first time doesn't really count as reading. But I was amazed at how much stuff I didn't even remember. I carefully read and reread the last couple chapters.

One bit I missed on previous readings is the only part that made me cry (this time around). The battle has resumed after Harry's "death".

The house-elves of Hogwarts swarmed into the entrance hall, screaming and waving carving knives and cleavers, and at their head, the locket of Regulus Black bouncing on his chest, was Kreacher, his bullfrog's voice audible even above this din: "Fight! Fight! Fight for my Master, defender of house-elves! Fight the Dark Lord, in the name of brave Regulus! Fight!
There are a lot of wonderful bits of wisdom to gain from Harry Potter (many directly pointed out by the mouth of Albus Dumbledor). Here is one I gleaned from this reading: How you treat people can make all the difference. A little bit of respect from Harry and Kreacher was an entirely different being. A few kind words gained his loyalty, even changed deep-rooted hatred. The house-elves were not commanded to fight; they chose to do so because they loved the masters they served.

Pink is for Boys: I read Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys From the Girls in America for the same reason the author wrote it. She was doing some research on baby clothing and discovered that in 1918, the generally accepted rule was "pink is for the boy." Yes.

"Most of the confusion [in the early 20th century, on which color was feminine and which was masculine or whether they denoted gender at all] can be attributed to the arbitrary nature of the assigned symbolism, no matter how natural it might seem to modern consumers." Arbitrary. ARBITRARY! And it's become practically gospel in our culture today.

Also, the baby dress: "It's not unusual to hear modern people describe Victorian babies as being dressed like girls; this is an error. To its own parents and grandparents, a child wearing the traditional white dress looked like 'a baby.'" This is because a baby's sexual innocence was considered one of its greatest charms. Babies once wore dresses until age 3 or so, and even in the 1940s young babies of both sexes wore white dresses. Now, I even hear comments about boys wearing Christening gowns, the last remaining boy dress.

"One of the criticisms of second-wave feminism is that it framed equality more in terms of girls "being like a boy" than boys being more effeminate." True! "Equality" means women having what men have. When really, what women have is way better. I love being a SAHM!

The story of Baby X was very interesting. I pondered it over a day after reading it and I did figure out the baby's sex! I didn't see that coming.

These days, pink worn by men is usually seen as ironic or humorous. But colorful fashions for men are slowly emerging. The toddler age, after newborn clothes, is sadly lacking in neutral options. It's all PINK or BOY and it drives me crazy. Dalton asked me why he doesn't have any pretty clothes. Because he doesn't like any of the stuff that screams GIRL. Toddlers are a consumer now, and as they are learning to identify with their gender and learn it's permanence, they tend to go to the extreme, hence the girly-girls who wear nothing but pink tutus for months on end. "The more gender binary the children's clothing market becomes, the more it fits the worldview of the three- to five-year-old consumers looking for ways to express an unambigious gender identity." Parents worrying about gender and sexuality issues also often seek out once gender neutral items - a onesie, overalls - now embellished with gender-specific themes.

In addition to the clothing, I am really annoyed at people reinforcing what they believe to be natural attributes of boys and girls. Boys naturally like to wrestle and play with guns. Really? MY boy doesn't. Girls like dolls and dress-up. Really? MY girl doesn't. Now, I do believe that gender characteristics are innate and unique. "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." Most women are more naturally nurturing. Men are generally stronger. I also think that we are limiting each other by the gender mold that has been created in our world today. Especially when we limit children in what they can play with, what they can wear, who they can emulate, and with whom they can play (kids must have learned "Boys Only" from somewhere). Like a baby in a dress in the early part of the 20th century just looks like "a baby", let our children just act like "a child."

With the advent of mid-pregnancy ultrasounds revealing sex, people began labeling their baby with a gender even before birth. Is it a he or a she? It's a baby. Does it MATTER?

NaNoBlogMo Month: I jus turned the computer off before writing my blog post so tappity tap, here I go. And I decided not to correct my tapos (or auto-correct-os). Maybe tomorrow. Maybe I'll leave them. It's symbolic.

In case you haven't noticed, my goal for the month of. Nov ER is to do a blog post every day. Unfortunately, most of them are written at 9:30 at night and are not as eloquent and thought out as thy could be. Oh well.

I feel like I should write more. I have mundane hints to say that aren't exciting or interesting, but I do enjoy looking back and reading the evey day things in my life. I also really enjoy those types of entries in my mom's journals so all the more reason to write them for my own kids. I also have more interesting hints to say, though I am not very good at saying them and I don't attempt to do so very often.

Today started off great. Sienna slept until 7 which I wish she always did. Any earlier and I go back to bed. It's nice to be up and soon stuff in he morning. But not so nice to make it worth getting up ok purpose. We watched some friends, then went shopping. I am prepping for preschool letter G tomorrow. My plans keep failing. So we went shopping and Si Emma ended up with a 20 minute nap before we picked up Maggie. When we got home, she signed nurse, and when I nursed her, sleep, but she just cried in her crib. I have altered and not as fun stuff ready for preschool and I did some cleaning (see previous blog entry on how I need a cleaning schedule). Yay me.

The low end note of the day is hat. John ended up with terrible vertigo and nausea. He hasn't been well at all in per a year, but this terrible trouble hasn't been bothering him lately at least. I got him in bed. He alreay has a chiro appt in the morning. I hope it's just a spell and not a sign of these problems returning.

*National November Blog More Month

Harry Potter Revisited.: I decided to start rereading the Harry Potter series, rather than spend free time browsing Harry Potter pins on Pinterest. I started last week and I already finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and the first movie. Last night I started on the next book and I'm about a third of the way through. I've been putting off reading these again because I was thinking they were juvenile, but J.K. Rowling is such a great author. These books are amazing.

John is in his crazy, last two weeks of October, 14 hour days, time, so I've had plenty of time in the evenings. Especially since I am laid up with my bum toe.

Factoids: I bought Maggie two new books today - coloring books that also included "facts" about the animals. One was dot-to-dot birds with up to 70 dots to connect per bird - great counting practice. The other is "how to draw" dinosaurs. We spent much of Dalton's nap lying on the floor coloring.

The dinosaur book claims, "Pteranodon was the largest flying reptile. ... It didn't had teeth." [sic] It also contains the sentence "Baryonyx fish."

TII, and this book was published here.

Bookworm Jr.: Today the kids and I went to a nearby bookstore and spent an hour browsing around. They had tons of fun kid books. Most Indian books are moral stories. There are also a few series on "fairy tales" or stories of the gods. Then there's retellings of Disney movies and things Americans would call fairy tales (Hansel and Gretel et al). Everything else is pretty much nonfiction. Indian kids must really like kid encyclopedias and dictionaries.

This store had a section on board books, and some Dr. Seuss, and some workbook. There was a giant book on birds that I really wanted to get Maggie. It was cool, and had a big kingfisher on the cover, but we don't need a giant book. We picked out a tame moral story and a nonfiction book about dinosaurs. The dinosaur book is actually really good - and entirely accurate (as of 2011). It doesn't even say "used to be known as Brontosaurus". Of course, it's an Usborne book, sold for 3.99lbs elsewhere. The moral story, Granny's Sari, was only $.50, but I thought we should collect some Indian books to bring home, and this one was pretty unique without being a cartoon about a god.

I also bought a Barbie in a sari. Hopefully hers is easier to put on than mine.

[Comments] (2) : I took the kids to the Target portrait studio to have pictures taken today. They turned out So Cute. I can't wait to get them so John can see them live and in color and we can update our wall.

The other thing I did today was read Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. I can hardly put it down! I don't know how he manages to write 5 riveting storylines (or points of view, at least) at once. I am also impressed with the archeological, architectural and religious research that goes into his books.

At the moment, I am taking a break to fill out the kids' passport applications. Step 1.

[Comments] (1) Twas Brillig: A few weeks ago at a family party, we were discussing the new Alice in Wonderland movie and I heard it said that the movie was finally being made as the drug-induced fantasy intended by Lewis Carroll. I just finished reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There and I must say I don't think that's what he intended at all. The books are a little wacky, but not at all creepy and really no different than any other book with a dream sequence. They are actually quite logical and clever and fun.

Just to make sure, I went back and read the introduction to my book (The Complete Illustrated Works of Lewis Carroll) and sure enough - Alice's Adventures Underground was composed on the fly on a boating outing where Carroll was entertaining 3 young girls (One named Alice, believe it or not). The original, handwritten manuscript is included later in my book, so I'll get to that soon.

Also, I looked up the movie and it is apparently a sequel, where Alice returns to Wonderland as an adult and "learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror." Not that the movie doesn't look fabulous (and creepy). But I don't think it's closer to the book than other versions. Especially since the entire plot is different.

Next up: The Hunting of the Snark. Perhaps I should get out the soundtrack and indoctrinate Maggie. A boojum, indeed.

Book Twins: I recently read three of Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern (and really liked and recommend them!). John and I noticed that the cover art was very much the same style as Maggie's latest favorite book, I Took the Moon for a Walk, which I can recite from memory. I finally remembered to check today, and sure enough both are illustrated by Allison Jay.

I feel all smart because I never notice stuff like this, but she does have a rather distinct style, and there's a "cracked" layer over the art as well.

: I just finished reading Affluenza, which is about the epidemic of consumerism taking over America. And how bad it is for the planet, and the people living on it. I got 14/100 on the quiz - pretty good. My favorite quote really didn't have much to do with the book: "In ancient Greece, the word "idiot" meant someone not involved in public life".

[Comments] (1) Annual Bookworm Post: I read about 19000 pages (in completed books) this year, more than double 2007. I read the Twilight series twice, three Eragon books, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, lots of novels and a few organizing and parenting tip books.

Some other numbers from 2008:
Articles published: 67. My goal was one a week, which I didn’t do, but I guess this is good enough.
Coupon Savings (since June): $153.83

[Comments] (2) Small Susie: I just finished reading a book called The Way of the Small: Why Less is Truly More. It's about diminishing yourself to become happy. I was greatly inspired by this Zen story which was included:

Two monks, Tanzan and Ekido, were journeying in the mountains on their way to a neighboring monastery. At a certain point they arrived at a stream and were greeted by a beautiful young woman who was attempting to cross to the other side. She asked if they could help her, for she did not wish to get her kimono wet. Tanzan picked her up and carried her across. The mountain paths diverged and the monks silently went on their way. Some hours later they came to a resting place.

Ponderously, Ekido spoke: "Our order strictly forbids bodily contact with women. How is it you disobeyed the rule and picked up that woman?"

Tanzan replied, "I left her back at the stream. Are you still carrying her?"

Believe it or not the moral of the story, at least as it is used in this book, is to let go and follow the fluidity of life. It made me laugh out loud.

[Comments] (1) Stalking: The Ultimate Form of Flattery: (Breaking Dawn Spoiler Alert)

Thanks a LOT, Rachel, for getting me hooked on Twilight Parodies. Make it stop. Seriously.

and it was the best series starting with a teenage girl in love with a mysterious boy in her class that ended up with a teenage girl defending her growth-accelerated mutant hybrid baby from an ancient clan of evil vampires with her magical psychic shield that I ever read, THE END.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

ETA: I can't help myself. This is re: Midnight Sun.

Also, he still has her Snapple cap in his pocket, because Edward Cullen is a thirteen-year-old girl.

: We've let Maggie get good and used to facing forward in the car with all the driving we've done lately. Yesterday we drove up to Logan to meet Dave's family and have a little party for Jamie and him. Today after church we drove up to the cabin to relax a little bit. We went for a nice walk. Maggie has been taking naps later in the afternoon and slept in her stroller today.

I taught Sunday School today. 5 of our boys came. I read them The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. The lesson was on peer pressure, and I found a Recreational Therapy protocol using this book to teach about cliques and figured it would be close enough. It was. I've never had a class of such respectful teenage boys as when I was reading them The Sneetches out loud! Afterwards we talked for a bit and then played Pass the Pigs with each of them answering questions from the lesson before their turn (name an example of pressure (good or bad) from the scriptures or church history, etc.).

I've Emerged: From my Breaking Dawn cocoon (aka The Twilight Zone. It was nice to have an end to the saga, although I didn't find the book as engrossing and wonderful as the previous three. Of the two shocking revelations, I'd guessed one of them, which was annoying. Good writing though, and once again I loved the chapter names. I'll get back to being a parent now.

[Comments] (1) No TV Allowed: John and I noticed this week how little TV we've been watching. The weather is nice so we've been taking walks and working in the yard, and we've also both been reading a lot. I've read over 9000 pages so far this year, just passing the total amount I read in 2007.

Maggie still watches The Wiggles every chance she gets, but since I've moved the computer upstairs, that isn't too often. She is becoming a little bookworm herself and has developed a cute habit of "backing up" from her book basket to a lap, where she can sit and read comfortably.

[Comments] (3) Good Read: I read a fantastic book today, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Anyone with similar taste in books to me HAS to read this. (Rachel! Jamie!) Apparently, a fourth (and final) book is coming out in August. And the author went to BYU. This is seriously one of the best books I've ever read. It was enthralling. Tasha lent it to me yesterday and is coming by tomorrow to bring me the next two.

ETA: Two things I really like about her writing are her descriptions of facial expressions and the chapter names.

I am such a nerd: I went to the library yesterday, and I checked out 4 cookbooks. I've already read two of them! Here is a quote: "I simply feel more like a good cook when I wear an apron, and everything seems to taste better" from Cooking Secrets My Mother Never Taught Me.

[Comments] (3) Bookworm: I read about 9000 pages (finished books) in 2007 including the entire Harry Potter series, a few Wodehouse, a few Nora Roberts, Wicked and Son of a Witch and The Spiderwick Chronicles. About 500 more pages than 2006, a year during which, believe it or not, I read no Harry Potter.

[Comments] (2) : Last night I finished rereading the Harry Potter series. It was very interesting and refreshing, but toward the end I found myself getting emotionally involved and considering the books often so I'm glad I'm done. I noticed a lot of things throughout that tied in with the rest of the story but I didn't notice until I knew the ending. I also noticed some things that I skipped over in my quick reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (since I took a whole 5 days to read it this time).

I am really loving our new house. Now that we've picked apart everything that's wrong with it I can truly enjoy it. Also it is really nice to get back into our routine. We've met a few of our neighbors and ward members who are very nice. The ward seems pretty friendly and not as clique-y as I thought it would be. Maggie has been good at church lately too, which helps. She goes to Elder's Quorum with John.

Speaking of Maggie being good at church, she has suddenly started napping a lot less. Most of her naps this week were in the car or stroller. She napped over an hour in her carseat at Jamie's house on Friday. She is sleeping well at night, so I won't complain. I don't even mind, I just wish she'd said, "Mom, I'm going to start being weird about naps." She follows me around the house, playing with her toys in every room and climbing onto my lap if she can, but now that John is working again she is less clingy to me.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving this week, and also our open house on Friday. Even though we are keeping it simple I have a huge shopping list for the things I am making. It's all going to be delicious.

[Comments] (2) Book Review: This last week I finished reading some books from Rachel. First, Son of a Witch, a sequel to Wicked. I thought it was a lot better than Wicked. Wicked just provides backstory and another viewpoint to The Wizard of Oz which somewhat limits the plot. I thought Son of a Witch had great character development and the ending was very creative and not too happy-happy, but he accomplished something, which the Wicked Witch of the West had never been able to do.

I also read Falling Angels which is by the same author as Girl with a Pearl Earring, which I have not read, and Lady and the Unicorn which I have. The novels were very similar, which was a little disappointing. I did think this one was an improvement though. It was more interesting and had a little more purpose in the plot.

Now I've started reading Suite Francaise which looks boring and has no cover, so I have no idea what it's about.

[Comments] (2) Clueless: I finished reading Wicked the other day (sometimes Maggie lets me read while she is nursing). I thought it was a pretty interesting book, although I never would have slated it for making a musical. This would be a great opportunity to state that I don't think about books when I read them. I know this book is packed with political and social undertones, and I'm sure I didn't even pick up the obvious ones. I'm not sure if this is because I am lazy, or because I just want to be reading for entertainment - probably both - but this is the case with every book I read, and also with movies.

John is very good at picking out the undertones and hidden (or not-so-hidden) agendas in books and movies. I remember watching Forrest Gump with him one time; afterwards he started talking about the portrayal of "our time" and I said, "what?"

I do enjoy discussing these things, I just don't want to think about it! Someone else can point them out, then we can chat.

[Comments] (2) No Matter How Small: John has started reading a Dr. Seuss book to Beet every night. She seems to really like it, and I can't blame her; I loved when my parents read to me.

It's fun to listen to John read and hear something Mom was always saying. (The difference between this and "we wonderss, yess, we wonderss" is that when Mom was quoting Dr. Seuss, I knew she was quoting Dr. Suess. Not so creepy.) Here's my recent favorite, from Horton Hears a Who.

"Humpf!", humpfed a voice. Twas a sour kangaroo.
And the young kangaroo in her pouch said, "Humpf!" too.

[Comments] (2) : John and I both just finished reading Eragon. It was a little slow at the beginning and hard to get into, but ultimately interesting. I get addicted to books a lot of the time. I read this one in two days, which caused me to ignore John a little bit. Poor John! I made him a yummy dinner last night to make up for it. He came home and said he wasn't hungry, but then ate two tacos, so it must have been good.

[Comments] (2) Blast from the Past: This week I have read two teeny-bopper books from Rachel. One was Voices After Midnight, a book we both remembered reading when we were little. We were talking about it a few weekends ago and Mom told us more of what it was really about (enough to be able to find it online) and said that we'd read a preview copy from a friend of Dad's who did book reviews for the LA Times.

The other book was An Occasional Cow, which Dad read us ages ago (obviously). This book is about a girl from New York who gets sent to live with her cousins in Iowa when her summer camp burns down. They teach their pigs to curtsy for the town pig talent show and make the world's largest gum chain. I know this book has been part of our family culture in the past: "Yeah, I'll say!" Plus, Rachel is well-known in our house for making gum chains.

: I have had a lovely day at work. I've been busy but the other people I've been working with have been cooperative and supplied necessary information. It's amazing how helpful people can be sometimes. I managed to complete two travel itineraries today, organize two training schedules, create a huge pile of training records and also did some training.

Also, I finished The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at "lunch". It ended rather abruptly because there is a 94 page making-of special at the end. The book was quite funny, but I'm afraid if I hadn't already seen the movie I would have been lost. As it was, I had to remember what happened in the movie to keep from wondering why the plot had fallen apart. But funny nonetheless.

I am going to the Post Office to do shipping after work, but John and I have another library date to make. He has given up on The Last Mohican.

[Comments] (2) The Te of Piglet: I recently reread The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff. Rachel sent this to me for my 21st birthday, when she was in London. I know because the note is still in the book and she says “favourite.” Although I think the author is a little fanatic about the environment and the cancerous effects of microwaves etc., he makes a lot of good points about appreciating and respecting nature, being humble, and what’s really important. Here are some of my “favourite” quotes from this book.

Let’s leave Behind The things that do not matter, And turn Our lives To a more important chapter.
“Eeyores are Realists, they say. But Reality is what one makes it.”
“Without difficulties, life would be like a stream without rocks and curves – about as interesting as concrete.”
“In reality, heroes are heroic because they, despite their weakness – and sometimes because of them, do great things. If they were perfect they wouldn’t be here in earth’s classroom.”
Persian Curse: May your every desire be immediately fulfilled.
“When one’s will is not distracted, one’s power is increased.”
“[The] worthwhile and important things in life – wisdom and happiness in particular – are not the sorts of things one can Chase After and Grab.”
I also love when he is talking about how this book will be more serious than The Tao of Pooh… and Piglet falls into the wastebasket.

Mail: It's always nice to get non bills/junk mail, such as magazines, letters, invitations to Halloween parties etc. Today we got a nice card from Ray and Lynn, Erin's (my sister-in-law) parents. They joined the Chadwick Family Disneyland trip a few weeks ago. We had a good time with them. They are a very nice couple and have very cute grandchildren. Very thoughtful of them to send a card.

John is in LA for tonight (and who knows how late tomorrow night). I just got home from the post office. I think I will do a bit of cleaning, since I didn't do it this weekend and read a book. Noelle has lent me a series of Christian romances (The English Garden Series by Lori Wick) and I am actually enjoying them. They have all the mushy love stuff I enjoy without being a "trashy novel".

[Comments] (5) : John and I got new cell phones last night. I got the old one out so I could program phone numbers at lunch, and I had two messages. One was a wrong number, the other was Linda Wren! She called because they couldn't find some training records I had boxed up and put in storage. It was nice to talk to her and hear about her almost grandbaby.

I have begun reading Lemony Snicket's The Penultimate Peril. It is already very good, especially compared to the earlier books in the series. You can read the first chapter online here.

The Chadwicks are all on their way to California! I am so excited for our weekend o' fun!

[Comments] (1) California Drivers: I finally got my car registered today. My license plates say "NUT". That should be easy to remember, but then again, it's always the numbers I forget. Now people won't wonder, "where did someone from Utah learn to drive like that?"

Work is going well. Today was a very busy day. I got up at 5:20 (John asked if I'd set me clock wrong) (he was already up studying) to go to work early, so I could leave early to go to the DMV. After that I went to Jamie's and worked for two hours. Then I came home (no traffic!). Since I didn't have to cook tonight (I ate at Jamie's, John had leftovers) I made No-Bake Cookies. Mine don't solidify fast enough. Any suggestions?

John is reading Half-Blood Prince. The more I think about it, the more I enjoyed that book. Yay! I reread the last few chapters, to make sure I didn't miss anything obvious, and I got all teary-eyed three times! Maybe my eyes were too busy flying through the pages.

Smile: This weekend was even better than it promised to be. We had a great time at Disneyland/California Adventure. I like rollercoaster rides and swingy rides most, so I enjoyed Screamin' and Soarin' over California and we also got to go on Thunder Mountain. We also had very yummy pineapple ice cream.

I was telling Mom in an email about Soarin'- it's supposed to be like you're flying over California seeing (and smelling and feeling) the sights. The chairs move a little with the plane and you can feel the breeze. You're practically inside the screen, watching Yosemite, Malibu, and the orange groves fly by. It's a great ride.

Tonight we went to Jamie and David's, to eat dinner with them and to stay with the boys while David picked Jamie up at the airport. I got to read 2 chapters of Chad's Half-Blood Prince and I am excited, but enjoying the suspense. Ok, well I already know some important things that happen (I'm a spoilsport), but still! I still have a great book to look forward to!

New job starts tomorrow.

[Comments] (3) The Never-Ending Day: One thing I am going to miss about Utah is the ample outdoorsy stuff. I really enjoyed our hike with Joe and Louise on Saturday. It was a great workout, and wonderful to be outdoors and see all the green trees, the little "potguts", as John called them, the moose... And I was hardly scared in the cabin! Of course, CA has the beach!

Today has seemed to last forever. We even went for two walks! I also got a bit more packing done, planned some using-up-the-cupboard-goods meals, and we watched Pirates of the Carribean. John and I got lots of time to talk. And it's still only 9 pm. Maybe it's because I've finished The Order of the Phoenix and I can't continue. It will keep me excited for The Half-Blood Prince, but meanwhile I am continuing on rereading A Series of Unfortunate Events. The drawback: they only take a couple of hours to read.

Time must have slowed down or something. We probably won't get another day like this- next weekend is Father's Day and we are spending half in Midvale and half at the cabin. The next weekend is our last and we will have to spend it packing. Then we are moving and have to spend our next weekend unpacking and getting all kinds of necessary moving stuff done (buy fridge, renew licenses and registrations, go to Disneyland...)

[Comments] (5) : Linda brought in The Notebook for John and I to borrow. Now that it comes to it, I realize that I've read this book, but I'm not sure where or when. I can only vaguely remember it, but I don't think it was a long time ago, so I think it might have been something I read at my night job. Don't worry, I won't ruin it for John.

[Comments] (5) Ahhhh: Today I got to sleep in to my heart's desire, and it was great. John left to take a test after I got up, so I've been cleaning and running some errands, including renting Catch Me if You Can for tonight. This week has been so busy, I am excited for John to have a short break in tests so we can spend some time together.

On Thursday I checked out The DaVinci Code and was unable to put it down. Of course, reading it before bed got me a little scared, so I didn't let myself read any yesterday. I looked up some of the paintings it refers to online, and am now less scared, so I guess I can finish it now. I think it's pretty good, I like figuring out the mysteries and such. But I'm not taking any of it to heart.

[Comments] (9) Bookworm: Last night I finished reading The Work and the Glory. I was so proud of myself I counted up all the pages- 5,261 pages in 9 books. John is already encouraging me to read other serieses, I think partly to discourage me from reading Harry Potter for what he claims is the 7th time, but I think I am going to take a break from reading for a while. I think I will get ahead on my crocheting and card-making and scrapbooking for now.

When I get into reading, all I do is read. When we were first married John thought I didn't like reading because I never did, but I've gotten into it since then and proved him wrong. I think it's been about a year. I've read seven Chronicles of Narnia, five Harry Potter, eleven Series of Unfortunate Events, The Lord of the Rings, about ten novels about the Amish, two movie-ized books after seeing the movie, The Book of Mormon and nine The Work and the Glory. And about 50 magazines.

If there are 5,261 pages to read in a series, I don't do much else in my spare time until I've read 5,261 pages. I need a break.

[Comments] (4) : Last night I ended up going into work for a few hours. Luckily, John and I had walked to the library and gotten some things for me to read. I am currently reading "A Series of Unfortunate Events". I'm on Book 1 because when I first checked them out, there was no Book 1, but I've also read 2 and 3. These books are quite obviously directed towards young kids- any difficult word is explained in the text, which gets annoying.

A movie is being made from the first three books, starring Jim Carrey. The movie looks much better than the books, sort of Harry Potter-ish. We saw the preview when John took me to see Spiderman 2 on Saturday (also a good movie).

Someone at work gave me some peaches. They are sitting on my desk and smell very yummy!

[Comments] (4) : Several months ago, John put a book on hold at the library, "Confessions of a Tax Collector". Today they called me and said it was in, and since I was picking up some magazines for tomorrow night, I got the book too. Now I am reading it. It is slow and has a lot of bad language. I started it because the random page I opened to had an interesting story. Hopefully I gets better.

John, this book is due August 26th and we can't renew it.

[Comments] (1) : I read the Magician's Nephew last night, Book 1 of the Chronicles of Narnia. See? I know how to read!

: At least twice yesterday I said, "It's Halloween??" I pretty much read all day, Phillip Pullman's The Broken Bridge and Follow the River by James Alexander Thom, a very long, disgusting, true story of a woman kidnapped by a Shawnee war company who makes her way 1000 miles home with pretty much nothing but a crazy old lady.

Today I am going to try to make it to the first 2 hours of work, until other people come in and I can leave them in charge. Kyra is also sick, although Julie and Nathan are finally seeming a little better. Luckily I didn't have any assignments due this week. For once sickness had good timing.

: I had a great day today. I slept a ton, read more of The Te of Piglet, did a little homework and a lot of cleaning, took Julie out to ice cream with Nathan, and spent some quality time with my boyfriend. Pretty much the day got better and better as it went on. We have Stake Conference tomorrow, and I've got meetings (surprise). I'm glad I got all sorts of stuff sorted out and cleaned up today, it's nice to know the desk you are at is all clean inside.

Yay!: I have had a great 21st birthday. *swats at a fruit fly* I got to ride a horse (it was a lot scarier than I expected it to be). I got kisses (the chocolate kind, much to my roommates' dismay I'm sure). I got lots of cool and useful stuff from my mommy. I got a "Christmas tree". I got The Te of Piglet in the mail from Rachel, who also called me (yay!). I did not get: a long enough nap; enough hugs; enough human interaction; warm enough at any point during the entire day.

I am now going to snuggle into my bed with my Book of Mormon and my piglet pillow and remember to pray for, among other things, the death of the fruit flies in our house and no quiz on the 471 readings I haven't done.

: Lots of quotes from our new apartment. Don't have the papers so I'll just type what I remember... Julie: I feel like an ostrich... Julie, pretending to attend the dance class she accidentally signed up for: My name is Julio, and I am a man... Susie (Kyra thought this was hilarious): It's a good thing we moved our beds the way they are, because I'm not about to get outta bed to wake you up. I can just roll over and kick you in the head...

The other day I picked up (and read) a book called StarGirl, by Jerry Spinelli, which was sitting on our kitchen table. It was really cute, I recommend it for light reading (it took me less than two hours, and I was talking the whole time).

: I remember now, having just finished the fourth Harry Potter book last night, that is the one whose ending bothers me. I remember thinking it gets too much into the next book. Really, it just leaves with too much plot up in the air. I hate how Snape gets sent off to do something and we don't know what. I hate how Sirius gets sent away. I hate how we now feel suspicious about Cornelius Fudge. I hate how Harry gets sent back to live with those awful Muggles again (although my suspicions are that he will do so every summer regardless). I hate how... well that's about it really.

: I went for a walk this morning. Then I read some Harry Potter. Then Jon and I finally went on our date. We went to Bridal Veil Falls and I learned how to ride a bike. It was really fun and I made him late to work. I didn't go swimming today and I still kinda want to and I still could but I think I'm just going to curl up with Harry Potter some more.

Also, Shelley called and asked if I'd go to the fair with her and her date, so I called Josh and invited him and begged Kyra to come along. The county fairs I've been to in Utah somehow don't quite measure up to the Kern County Fair. Not hardly. Our fair has rides and games and 500x more animals (although I did get to pet a llama) and tons and tons of exhibits and contests and such. This fair... didn't.

: Read two Harry Potter books today. Went to the Nicklecade with some people from the ward. It was really fun; I played a Simpsons video game where Marge got to hit the bad guys with a vaccuum. I was playing Homer, but it was still pretty cool to see him doing something productive. Watched "Armagedon" with Ang and Collette. Unbelievably, that was my entire day. I don't feel too guilty for accomplishing nothing though, because tomorrow I have big plans. I may actually get around to writing in my journal.

: Read Harry Potter. Went to Kristen's reception. Got lost in West Jordan. Borrowed some of Alyssa's clothes. Went to see "Single's Ward" with Jamie and Lisa. Came home. Feeling irritable and annoyed, for no particular reason. I had a great day; I think it's just cause I'm tired and poor.

: Kristin: We're going back to Section Spew.

20 emails and only four of them are even worth reading. Today I read the fourth Harry Potter book, which Roberta was so kind as to give to Lacra who doesn't have time to read it this week. I have lots of complaints, but it gave me something to do while my roommates bonded.

: I noticed many large piles of rebar lying in the vicinity of a very big hole on campus (campus tends to sprout very big holes on occasion) and I thought of mom. And this stupid scar on my leg from my last rebar encounter.

I was the only person who showed up to work yesterday. Since I did the work of at least two other people I'm going to ask for a $13 an hour raise.

Leonard, I started reading that "The Good Soldier Sjvek" (I don't remember how to spell his name) book you gave me, it's pretty good.

: Today at work: learned two things about my coworker (she's 26 and married), read 30 pages in my Chinese Philosophy book, let the bakery boy flirt with me (at least that's probably the closest to flirting with me he'll ever get) and sliced my finger open. Kelinda and I are going shopping tomorrow and I am going to make a delicious dinner for Saturday.


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