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Sunday, June 29, 2008

EW's book list

At the family reunion yesterday, I read Entertainment Weekly's list of the top 100 classic books of the past 25 years. A few people asked me to post it, so here goes:
  1. The Road - Cormac McCarthy, 2006
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, 2000
  3. Beloved - Toni Morrison, 1987
  4. The Liars' Club - Mary Karr, 1995
  5. American Pastoral - Philip Roth, 1997
  6. Mystic River - Dennis Lehane, 2001
  7. Maus - Art Spiegelman, 1986/1991
  8. Selected Stories - Alice Munro, 1996
  9. Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier, 1997
  10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami, 1997
  11. Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer, 1997
  12. Blindness - Jose Saramago, 1998
  13. Watchmen - Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, 1986/1987
  14. Black Water - Joyce Carol Oates, 1992
  15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers, 2000
  16. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood, 1986
  17. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1988
  18. Rabbit at Rest - John Updike, 1990
  19. On Beauty - Zadie Smith, 2005
  20. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding, 1998
  21. On Writing - Stephen King, 2000
  22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz, 2007
  23. The Ghost Road - Pat Barker, 1996
  24. Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry, 1985
  25. The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan, 1989
  26. Neuromancer - William Gibson, 1984
  27. Possession - A.S. Byatt, 1990
  28. Naked - David Sedaris, 1997
  29. Bel Canto - Anne Patchett, 2001
  30. Case Histories - Kate Atkinson, 2004
  31. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien, 1990
  32. Parting the Waters - Taylor Branch, 1988
  33. The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion, 2005
  34. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold, 2002
  35. The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst, 2004
  36. Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt, 1996
  37. Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi, 2003
  38. Birds of America - Lorrie Moore, 1998
  39. Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri, 2000
  40. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman, 1995-2000
  41. The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros, 1984
  42. LaBrava - Elmore Leonard, 1983
  43. Borrowed Time - Paul Monette, 1988
  44. Praying for Sheetrock - Melissa Fay Greene, 1991
  45. Eva Luna - Isabel Allende, 1988
  46. Sandman - Neil Gaiman, 1988-1996
  47. World's Fair - E.L. Doctorow, 1985
  48. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver, 1998
  49. Clockers - Richard Price, 1992
  50. The Corrections - Jonathan Frazen, 2001

For numbers 51-100, please click on the link to Entertainment Weekly above. (Sorry, my fingers are getting tired.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In over my head

On Monday night I got a phone call from a member of the Relief Society of my ward. She asked me to substitute for the teacher on Sunday. My lesson was based on three talks: Concern for the One by Elder Wirthlin, Opening Our Hearts by Bro. Lund, and And Who Is My Neighbor? by Bishop Burton. I, of course, didn't get through all of the talks. I especially liked Brother Lund's talk and his analogy of the fences. Right before I taught, a counselor of the bishopric pulled me aside and asked me to teach on a permanent basis. To say I feel overwhelmed and inadequate is an understatment. I can't say I'm particularly spiritual and I have been known to say more than one inappropriate thing in church. I can only hope that my unique persepective on life can assist in my teaching instead in hindering it. I have never had a teaching position so I would welcome any suggestions.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Little Women

Last night I took advantage of part of my Christmas present by going to see Little Women: the broadway musical at The Hale Center Theater in Orem. It was pretty good. I am familiar with the music since I have owned the soundtrack to this musical for over a year. I have read Little Women the book several times as well as seen several movie versions. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see the play. I took a friend of mine, Angie. I was really impressed with the lead, Hailey Smith. Her voice was strong, clear, and she had excellent range. I also was very impressed the actor and actress who played Meg and Mr. Brooke (Courtney and Jeff Pew.) After reading the biographies, I realized their chemistry may be in part because they are married. They both had good voices and excellent acting skills. The actress who played Beth was a wonderful actress but didn't have a strong voice. The two male leads did admirably considering this was their first musical. Overall, I would recommend the play to anyone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Perhaps a new car...

I had another car appointment today because my air conditioning stopped working. Since January I have spent about $500 on repairs for the car. Since the car I drive is a 1993, I think it's about time for me to buy a new car. Based on safety records, fuel efficiency, and reliability, I have narrowed the field. I am thinking of buying a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or a Toyota Corolla. I am planning to buy a 2005, 2006, or 2007 model. Does anyone have an opinion?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I've been tagged

I read my sister's blog today and realized that I'd been tagged. (See Jen's blog for more details.) Here goes:

3 Joys:
1. My nieces and nephews - never has a family been so blessed by such lovely, smart children.
2. A clean bathroom - it is so nice to shower in a clean shower with no hair in it, step on a clean floor, and look into a clean mirror above a clean counter. If I had time, I would have my bathroom cleaned every couple of days.
3. A good book - there is nothing like escaping into a different world or becoming a different person. It is also a great way to learn about other people, places, and ideas.

3 fears:
1. That another niece or nephew will die before me. While I know it isn't likely, it nearly killed me when Caleb died. I don't know that my heart could take another blow like that.
2. Snakes - it isn't natural for an animals to have no appendages. Even fish have fins; no wonder snakes are considered a cursed animal in most myths and stories.
3. Losing hope for the future.

3 goals:
1. Finishing school - yes, I know it need to make the time to finish. Really, I don't need to be reminded.
2. Consistently work less than 50 hours each week. I am working on this one with my manager.
3. Finish embroidering another skirt.

3 obsessions/collections:
1. Books - Even with three bookcases and books lining the back of my desk, I am still making piles of books on the floor of my bedroom. I've decided I just need to make floor to ceiling bookshelves in whatever place I live.
2. Doing a good job at work - even at home I think about ways to improve my performance at work. I have been this way at every job I've ever had. There are days I curse the work ethic instilled in me.
3. Reading the blogs of my siblings and other family members and reading my e-mail. Since I live the farthest from my parents, I love the fact that I can catch up on their lives and see the latest pictures of my nieces and nephews.

3 random or surprising facts:
1. I think fireworks are very romantic. I was reminded of this fact just tonight when I watched the fireworks at Summerfest. I really wished I had been in the arms of some cute guy.
2. I dislike change at home but actually don't mind it at work. I am not sure why there is this distinction in my brain.
3. I wish there was an empty room in a house where I could just paint strange murals on the walls.

I tag Sarah and Britnie.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Saturday with The Host

Ladies and Gentlemen, you are not being deceived. The time this blog entry was posted is correct. It is now past 3am on Sunday morning and I have still not gone to bed. "How can this be?" an astonished reader might ask. Well, it all started this morning when I went to my neighbor's house for brunch. My visiting teachers decided to invite their girls to brunch so that both bodies and souls could be fed. Luckily, the place where it was held was in a townhouse in the same row as the one I live in. I walked a few doors down and shared a wonderful meal with Angie, Missy, and Rebecca (I think that is her name; it is late after all.) I offered to take out their trash. When I went out their back door, I found a plot of dirt. Instead of the cement and rocks that are in my backyard, I found that it had cement and dirt. My mind raced with excitement. It had weeds that were almost as high as my waist and was app. 5ft x 12 ft. I went back in and almost begged to be able to weed and plant it. The weather was perfect and it had rained the night before, making the earth soft. Even though I was looked at as odd, they gave their permission. After talking for a while, I went home and changed into appropriate gardening clothes. I went and pulled all the weeds out. It took me about 2 hours. After a discussion with Angie about what she would like there, I ran to the greenhouse. I bought a tomato plant, acorn squash, and flowers. I went back, planted them all (using the techniques instilled in me by my parents) and was done by 4:45pm. It was exhilarating and exhausting. I came home and took a shower. I know that I'll be sore all day Sunday.
Earlier that day, Sarah had asked me if I wanted to read The Host by Stephanie Meyers and I said that I did. I enjoyed Twilight so I was willing to give it a chance, even though I have heard a few mixed reviews. (Some lovers of Twilight don't like it as well since it has a science fiction feel instead of her usual fantasy. The idea of aliens threw them off.) Well...get ready for a shock...I liked it better than Twilight. Before all of you start throwing stones at me or shunning me at parties, I would like a chance to explain. Unlike some fantasy readers, I enjoy the science fiction genre as well. I have always liked authors like Orson Scott Card, Sharon Shinn, and others. I liked the more mature characters and the serious inner conflict of Wanda/Wanderer/Melanie. It showed a depth and a moral struggle that I found to be engaging. Anyway, there it is. If you are interested in science fiction at all, I would highly suggest reading The Host. I started after I got out of the shower at 6:30 and couldn't put it down. I read all 624 pages in one sitting with only two bathroom breaks. I am now hungry, wide awake, and wish there were more to read. Oh well, such is life. Is it strange that I get this excited about books?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I must admit that I don't love huge crowds and I get motion-sickness fairly easily, but I had fun at Lagoon on Saturday. The biggest reason was the addition of my nieces and nephews. John and Jen brought Lauren, Alison brought Isaac and Aaron (Jordan had to work,) and Jeremy brought Sid and Wyatt (and Britnie joined us later.) Now that the "triplets" are able to walk and rides the rides, it was so much fun. Sidney was fun as usual as she got to go on some "big kid" rides with her parents and one with me. The first ride that Isaac and Lauren went on together was the boats. They both seemed a little shocked at the motion but were ok. Lauren hated the planes but was ok with the boats, cars, and merry-go-round. Wyatt didn't really like his first ride, the whales, but seemed to love the boats, planes, spaceships, and merry-go-round. Isaac went on everything and didn't want to leave. I believe the quote was as follows: "Isaac, lets go find Mommy and go home." Isaac: "No...plane, train, car." It was fun to see them run around on the grass and through Pioneer Village. Aaron was a little trooper. Despite the long day in the stroller, he was full of smiles for everyone. All in all, the little kids lasted much longer than I would have though. Isaac fell asleep on the 7 minute ride to Nana and Poppy's house.
I think Mom, Dad, and I had the most fun watching the little kids run around. Everyone enjoyed the train, which was ridden more than once, and even managed to eat a little at lunchtime. I am sure that Dad and Jeremy got some great pictures. (How can we convince them, especially Dad, to load them all on the flickr sight?) We didn't get home until after 9pm and I stayed and regaled my parents with stories from work until past 11pm. I got home around 12:30am and slept very well.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Anger at Iron Man

On Monday (Memorial Day) I decided to go see a movie. I had been at work for a little while and couldn't look at my computer a minute more. I had heard a lot of good things about Iron Man so I decided to see it. Fifteen minutes before the movie started, I left for the theater. I don't know what I was thinking when I went to a popular move on a holiday. I sat in the front row before the aisle and real front rows. I sat a seat away from a man and woman. Right before the movie started, a boy who looked to be 10 years in age came over. He was their son and he was holding a baby who looked to be around 1. He complained that he shouldn't have to hold the baby but his parents told him to go sit down in the front row. Over the next hour, the boy came back 7 times to complain and ask if he could have popcorn. After the first hour of the movie, the Dad left three times and the Mom left four times. After that the boy and his dad had a whispered argument about popcorn. About twenty minutes before the movie ended, the 1 year-old started crying. The parents sat there for a couple of minutes before one of them got up. I should have said something but I held my tongue. Each time one of the members of this family got up, they passed in front of me. By the end of the film, I was a little confused at who several of the characters were. I am going to see it again some other time and hope for normal people to sit by. Why someone would bring a 1 year-old to a loud, violent movie is beyond me. Are babysitters really so expensive these days that they couldn't afford one for 2 hours? Needless to say, I was a little annoyed.