Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Bad Memory

"The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time." ~Friedrich Nietzsche
My mom is a school teacher, and she recently asked me if I ever hear a story from history and think, "Wow.  I know I must have learned that before, but I swear it doesn't even sound vaguely familiar." 

I tried to explain to her that not only have I had that happen once or twice.  To me, that happens always

I tried to explain to her that I can read a book and thoroughly love it but not be able to tell you even the main points of the plot as little as a week or two later.

I can see a movie that I've already seen and wonder the entire way through how it is going to end.

I can watch a commercial, tell Kirk how funny it was, then see the same commercial again on another day, and again... tell Kirk how funny it was.  He tells me I've seen it before and said that before.  And neither rings a bell for me.

But I truly do not believe this is a bad thing, and I've actually commented before that it is so fun to be me, because I get to be happy about the same things over and over again. 

Apparently Friedrich Nietzsche agrees.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Young Love

Right now I'm the music director for a youth show in Draper, and I'm having such a great time.  I've loved getting to know a new batch of theater-loving teenagers who remind me so much of myself over a decade ago. 

What's funny, though, is to watch them from a now perspective but still remember so clearly what it was like back then.

Here's the best example:

At auditions, Unnamed Boy has a thing for Unnamed Girl.  And she obviously has a thing right back.  We are now 3 weeks into rehearsals, and the thing seems to have blossomed into full-blown teenaged love.  Boy and Girl can't seem to part at the end of rehearsal without a lot of mushy hugs surrounded by eye-rolling from their friends.  "Guys, back up!  Boy and Girl are having a moment."

I laugh, because I have been there. 

And now I feel I owe a few people an apology:

To Christopher, Jason, Topher, and anyone else who ever had to witness such ridiculous gushiness:  I'm SO sorry.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to go back to high school with all the confidence and knowledge I have now.  And then I watch Boy and Girl and think, "Nah.  Twenty-eight is pretty awesome."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Story Worth Retelling

I thought about blogging this the day it happened, but I just didn't think it would translate well to print.  Since then, I've shared the story several times, and I've finally decided I just have to share it with all of you.  Bear with me as I try to include the two-year-old "accent."

The Story:
Alex has a huge imagination.  We often turn heads as we play baseball with no equipment as we wait outside the preschool or have a snowball fight in the lobby of the doctor's office.  He even likes to play make-believe versions of his favorite video games.  "Mom... you be Sonic." 

One of his favorite games right now involves filling restaurant orders.  You say, "I'd like an icecream cone, a hamburger, and fries."  He bends down to his collection of imaginary food and carefully selects the items you ordered.  He hands them to you, naming each one by one, then watches as you eat them.

We were recently waiting for the doctor and filling the time playing this game.  He'd completed several of Mommy's orders, and Daddy decided to get in on the fun.

Daddy: "I'd like some calamari and escargot."

Alex: Looking through his imaginary food. "I don hab doze."

Daddy: "Well, what do you have?"

Alex: Scanning the "food" again. "I hab... deze (pointing to one imaginary pile) and doze (pointing to a separate pile)."

Daddy: "Okay, I'll take those."

Alex: Processing Daddy's order and looking at his "food."  Pause.  Innocent look up at Daddy. 

"Dem are not for you."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Definition of Awesome

Here are just a few of the things my amazing husband did for me yesterday:

1) Worked a full day to provide for our family
2) Fixed the car (without any help from our dads!)
3) Watched the kids while I went to rehearsal and visiting teaching
4) Folded 3 loads of laundry
5) Took the screaming baby out of my arms at 11:30 pm and told me to go back to bed
6) Said it was the least he could do, and that it was nice to feel like he was contributing

Is he for real?

Friday, February 12, 2010

This Says It All

I'm a huge picture taker. I love pictures, because they capture that one special moment. Sometimes, though, a picture seems to capture an entire lifetime. This is one of those pictures. This is my Grandma Casdorph. Grandma was born in West Virginia where she met and married my Grandpa. Now they reside in sunny Arizona. See their tangelos in the background?

My grandma jumps in with two feet to anything she feels is worth doing. She can name all the counties in Arizona, Utah, and West Virginia. (Probably more, too!) She can give you a detailed explanation of the street grid in Phoenix. She's almost as good as a GPS. (Which, by the way, Grandma and Grandpa use regularly, mostly for the fun of arguing with the computerized voice giving them directions.)

Grandma loves genealogy, photography, and computers. She had a scanner long before they became standard household appliances, and she knows her way around Photoshop. She loves to make personalized gifts. Someday, I'll have to post a picture of our dolls that have our faces on them, known as "Grandpa Dollies," and the accompanying story. Two Christmases ago, she took the time to personally convert all her old home video footage to DVD, then organize and duplicate the files so each home has a copy of any videos related to their own history. How many grandmas do you know that could do that without any tech support?

Grandma makes the most amazing pies, but when she says it with her West Virginia accent -- thicker after her yearly trips to family reunions -- the vowel sound is more like a short a... paaa.

Grandma has been battling lymphoma for a few years. She fights it bravely and without making any fuss. Recently, we received an envelope of pictures she took at Dylan's blessing. Attached was a post it note:
"Here's a copy for you and a copy for Kirk's parents. I found a lump in my neck, so I think my lymphoma is back. I have an appointment Monday."

Grandma loves her two chihuahuas, Pedro and Lolita. I mean REALLY loves them. One year she sent out Christmas cards with Pedro and Lita visiting Santa. The caption read, "Dogs are children with fur."

This is particularly funny if you know the story from my dad's childhood when Grandma put the family to a vote regarding a stray dog they'd taken in. "Either the dog goes or I go." The entire family -- including Grandpa -- voted for the dog to stay. The next day when my dad got home from school, the dog was gone.

My grandma emailed this picture to my dad. The included note read:
Hi, All: Thought you might like to see how Dad fixed my new bicycle so Lita can ride with me. Love, Mom

I saw the picture and immediately thought, "This is exactly how I always want to remember my grandma."

Just look at her. Happy. Doing what she loves. On a bicycle modified so Lita can take rides with her. I can just hear her West Virginia accent as she tells Grandpa how he's probably taking the picture wrong. I admire her strength and conviction, her love of life, her active lifestyle. I don't know exactly how, but for me all of that fits in this one picture.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet Offering

“Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.” -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
If I’d had to offhandedly name each child’s most prized possession, I could have said without question:

Ryan’s “Charlie Horse”
Adam’s Blanket
Alex’s Pluto

These were the offerings given without hesitation at the mere mention of Dylan being sad. (Plus Adam’s “Beanstock,” his favorite “snuffy animal” valued below only his blanket and his big bear.)

No wonder Jesus loves little children.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Two Reasons To Not Blog

For me, there are only two reasons I don't sit down and get in a little therapeutic writing time:
  1. There is just nothing exciting going on.
  2. There is WAY TOO MUCH going on.

Well, here I sit smack dab in the middle of #2. Hmm. Don't take that too literally, because almost all of my busyness is actually a good thing. Here's a sampling of what I've got going on:

  1. I was asked to head up a men's musical number for Stake Conference. We're singing an incredibly challenging but really awesome version of Be Still My Soul. It is 6 part acapella, and the harmonies are really close. I had the first rehearsal last Sunday night (thanks again to 23 men who were willing to show up to an ill-planned rehearsal on Super Bowl Sunday!) and it was amazing. About 45 minutes of good rehearsal = amazing acapella sound with almost all the right notes. Second (and final) rehearsal this Sunday, and I'm sure the song is going to be spectacular.
  2. Alex's birthday is coming up in about a month. That means I have about 40 pages of digital scrapbooking to get done in the next 2 weeks, so I can get them sent off to the printer and have a beautifully bound "2 year old book" to give to Alex at his party.
  3. My dad owns a storage system installation company and has been doing a weekend job at the Wheeler warehouse out here by our house. Kirk has been working every weekend since early December. Friday night from about 5 until often 1:30 am. Saturday from 8 am until the work is done or they are too tired to even move. Occassional Sundays if Saturday didn't go well. The last two weekends I also ended up there, putting in the long hours alongside the guys. This has been exhausting on multiple fronts. Exhausting because the work is physically demanding. Exhausting because the hours are insane. Exhausting because I had to be away from the kids all weekend. A few hour break here and there is always welcome, but I really do miss them when I'm away.
  4. I recently signed on as music director for an upcoming youth production out in Draper. We've been working through the audition process, and finally started rehearsals last night. I've been busy gathering music and minus tracks and going through the collaboritive process to put together a script, rehearsal schedule, etc. I'll now have rehearsals on Tues, Wed, Thurs nights and Sat morning. The good news is, though, that Adam is doing the show, so he'll get to hang out with me on Wed and Sat. The other good news is that it is a paid position, so there's a bit of a bonus to all of the time.

Then there's the stuff that I know is on the horizon:

  1. Uncle Tim and Aunt Enid's book of their childhood pictures
  2. Rachel's 2009 Year Book for her family
  3. 4 presentations on the different factions of Boy Scouting for Lorraine Kennedy
  4. Auditions for my mom's after school theater group this Thursday (and hour-long rehearsals after school each Tues and Thurs through April)
  5. 8 days in Boise, Idaho as music director for Starlight Mountain Theater's spring break show
  6. Ward choir presentation on hymns in June
  7. Katie Hall's wedding invitations (YAY!)

Now lest you think I'm complaining here, I'm most definately not. I love my life, and I love all the opportunities I'm given. I love doing music, and I especially love that occassionally someone is willing to pay me to do it. :) I love digiscrapping, and I love getting to be a part of other peoples' history and projects.

What I don't love is laundry. So what if I don't find time to do it in the next couple of months. I've got better stuff to do!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First Annual Book Review

A friend of mine from elementary apparently posts a yearly review of the books she's read. I liked the idea so much that I decided to adopt it for myself. So here it is: my first annual book review. As this may get lengthy, I'll break it into a few categories:

Best of the Year
Worst of the Year
Favorite Author
Worth Mentioning

But first, here is the list of what I read, complete with the stars I gave it on GoodReads:

*****Flags of our Fathers
*****The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
*****Catching Fire
*****The Hunger Games
****Fablehaven Series Books 1-3
****Handle with Care
****Perfect Match
****A Thousand Splendid Suns
****The Local News
****Nineteen Minutes
****Tenth Circle
****Feeling for Bones
****The Ten Cow Wives Club
***Leaving November
***Princess Academy
***Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry
***Water for Elephants
***Light of the Oracle
***My Fair Godmother
***Until We Reach Home
***Sword of Truth Books 1-5
***The Independence Club
***The Grift
**Forgotten Warrior
**Noughts and Crosses
**Another Kind of Cowboy
**Leven Thumps Book 1
*The Water's Edge

Book Review - Worth Mentioning

I read three books this year which I thought deserved to be mentioned further.

Because it disappointed me: Noughts and Crosses
After reading the back of this book, I was so excited to read about a "new" society separated into noughts and crosses. Sadly, this book was a bit of a disappointment in that it was nothing new... it was simply a thinly veiled representation of African American history in America. I would have enjoyed actual historical fiction representing the civil rights movement much more than this "new" story which truly brought nothing new at all.

Because it provoked discussion: Testimony
A couple of years ago, Kirk and I made a joint decision to not watch R rated movies. This is really hard for Kirk and not that tough for me. I read this book and loved it, so Kirk got it on CD and "read" it, too. It caused a lot of discussion because Kirk said if it had been made into a movie it would be rated R. We talked a lot about what is considered appropriate in different media forms, and we never really came to any concrete conclusions. When Kirk "reads," everything is very visual for him. For me, the ideas are very abstract. Maybe that's why graphic stuff in books doesn't get to me the way it does in movies. I don't know. But this book provided a basis for a really great discussion in my house. Oh, and I loved the book, too.

Because it made sense to me: The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
My GoodReads review:
"This book had such a unique perspective on how to be happy in a marriage. I appreciated Dr. Laura's candor, and I am going to try to actually implement some of the changes I think I could make in order to be a better wife."
I wrote that review on July 9th. Now I can't even remember what her perspective was or what changes I was supposedly going to make. Hmm. Maybe I'll read it again.

Book Review - Series

I love to find a good series because it's so fun to get attached to a group of characters and follow them through multiple adventures. But it's hard to find a good series where the plots stay interesting and the characters stay true. Here's what I found and what I thought:

My Favorite: Fablehaven
So it's written for teens. Who cares? I've only read the first three books, but I've liked each book a little better than the last. Plus, since it is easy reading, I can keep a book by the tub and read a chapter or two as the tub fills. After a week or so, I've finished a book and thoroughly enjoyed it.

My Project: The Sword of Truth
These books are HUGE, and the series is immense. I loved the first book, and I've been trudging through the others one by one since then. But a mother of three can only read so many 800 page books, so this project is slow going. Sadly, the series seems to get worse as I go on, but I'm already invested so I'll likely finish. So far, books 1 and 3 have been my favorites, and book 5 was barely readable.

Not for Me: Leven Thumps
Tried it. Didn't like it. Here's what I posted on GoodReads:
"I honestly just didn't love this. The story didn't grab me, and I found Obert Skye's writing style to be a bit flowery and distracting. I don't think I'll finish the series."
Nope. Not gonna finish the series.

Book Review - Author

I hate being super trendy. I prefer to be just on the cusp, enjoying something popular but generally unknown. I hate loving Wicked because everyone loves Wicked. I really badly want one of those cute, chunky, beaded watches but won't wear one because they are everywhere.

Well, I totally missed that boat with this year's favorite author.

But so what if you were all reading Jodi Picoult before I even realized she existed. So what if they've already made movies from her books (albeit destroying them). I read four Jodi Picoult books this year, and loved every single one.

So here's my two cents on this already popular author and a few of her books. I just copied and pasted my GoodReads reviews (which I write only for my own benefit so I can remember what I liked and didn't like). If you haven't picked one up yet, do.

Perfect Match
I really enjoyed this book, especially because it caught me by surprise several times. I wish I'd read it before 19 Minutes, though, since one of the characters builds in 19 Minutes.
Nineteen Minutes
What I loved most about this book was that I could put it down. The story was told in a way that was compelling, but could be bitten off in bite-sized chunks that could fit in here and there while I was still meeting the requirements of being a good mother. I loved the character development as well as the twist at the end. My only caution to other readers would be the use of the f-word which appeared more frequently than I would prefer.
Handle with Care
Not my favorite Jodi Picoult. I found this book slow and redundant, and after reading several Picoult books, I thought the main character Charlotte was "typical" Picoult. However, the concept of the book was thought provoking, and the ending (as always) came as a surprise. I'll continue reading her books, but I may take a bit of a Picoult break so I can thoroughly enjoy the next one I pick up.
The Tenth Circle
The prologue of this book was probably the best I've ever read, and the book nearly lived up to it. I was suprised at what I figured out and what I didn't, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

Book Review - Worst

It would be unfair to say I did not like this author. In fact, I really ought to put a Karin Fossum book on my reading list for this year so I can give her another shot. But I did not like this book. At all.

The Water's Edge started out as a nice enough crime drama. You know, like reading CSI. I really enjoyed reading from the perspectives of the various characters, until I had to read from the perspective of the bad guy -- a pedophile. Then it just got really creepy.

I don't think the book was trying to push a "pedophilia is okay" agenda, but there was still something oddly accepting about it, and I felt yucky reading it. This is definately one I'd put on the "do not read" list.

Book Review - Best

A good book entertains, provokes thought, or provides a new perspective.

A great book changes you.

My dad recommended Flags of our Fathers, by James Bradley. He warned me that it may not be the type of book I could just sit and read straight through. Thanks to all the battle descriptions, he was right. It was too much for a quick read. Thankfully, however, I took the necessary time to get through it, and finished during the patriotic month of July. Since I have an incredibly short term memory, I was curious what my review on GoodReads had to say:
"This book had amazing insight into the history of WWII, specifically the war in the Pacific. I am a better American for having read this book."
Yep. That was pretty much accurate. I read 38 books last year, almost all of which entertained me on some level. From some, I even learned a little something. But this one changed me.