Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Reading Receipt

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy.

When I looked back through the pics on my phone at the end of this month, I was stunned to see I had read three books.  I thought it was more  The fact that I didn't remember tells me something about how busy this month has been.  And even though I didn't remember the number, I do remember the books.

Love That Boy by Ron Fournier
This is the nonfiction story of a White House journalist who wanted to bond with his son, who has Asperger's, through sports.  Unfortunately for Fournier, his son had no interest in sports.  At the urging of his wife, Fournier attempts to forge a bond through their shared love of presidential history. 

I found this to be an honest, bittersweet story of a parent who finds it difficult to bond with his child whom he loves very much.  It also addressed parental expectations in a very real way that I thought was unflinchingly accurate.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
This was the second book I read by Benjamin.  Again she took real people from history (in this case, Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Charles Lindbergh) and imagined their emotional lives based on historical events.  I so enjoy books like this, and this one fit the bill perfectly.  I did not know much about the Lindberghs before reading this.  (I had read Gift From the Sea many years ago and actually had to check the Internet to see if this Anne Morrow Lindbergh was one and the same as the author before I started reading this.)  I knew very basic facts about Charles Lindbergh's historic solo flight.  I had some vague idea that their child was kidnapped but did not know the details and again wasn't even sure these were the same Lindberghs.  I found Anne's deference to Charles throughout this novel infuriating, but that's what makes these types of books so intriguing to me.  I want to know more about why people do the things they do.  I suppose you could argue that Benjamin doesn't really know herself, but I find the notion of what she does in explaining these things fascinating.  I am currently enjoying another of her books.

Rebecca by Daphne du Marnier
This was not a typical choice for me, as I saw it as something similar to Jane Eyre (which is not a favorite of mine).  Instead, I found myself admiring the trailblazer for writers like Gillian Flynn and Mary Kubica, among others.  Rebecca had it all.  It was creepy, suspenseful, and tense.  And a twist?  Indeed.  (And yes, I suppose you could argue that Jane Eyre has all those things too.  I just didn't enjoy it like I enjoyed this.)  If you like modern suspense/thrillers, I suggest you give Rebecca a shot.  I did for $1.99 when it was on sale for Kindle, but you could just check your local library.  Speaking of which, The Friends of the Library big book sale is coming up this Labor Day weekend.  Life is good.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How I Spent My Summer Vacation - Top 10 List (2016 Edition)

So this is a recurring post I do every year when the times rolls around for summer vacation to come to an end.  As a teacher, I love assigning myself the classic "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" essay each year.  I was reminded to do it today when last year's post popped up on Facebook's "On This Day".  I love "On This Day", btw.  It almost always reminds me of something good.  Well done, Facebook.

Some of the items on this list have been mentioned in previous "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" posts, but if you don't know I'm heavy on tradition by now, you never will.

The Summer of we go!

#10 Just a few days after the school year ended, I interviewed for and was offered a new job teaching second grade in a different school in my district.  I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified.  I have taught second grade for 21 years, but this is a different school with different people.  I will say it has sent me into a revival of sorts about teaching.  If change doesn't revive you, not much else will.

#9 Movies
Yes, this is a repeat.  We have so much more time in our schedule to hit movies in the summer, and I love it.  I just wish there had been more we could have seen as a family.

#8 Berries (Both Straw and Blue)
Okay, another repeat.  What can I say?  I am a creature of tradition.  And fruit.  Man, it was hot on both of those days.  Totally worth it.

#7 thredUP
I discovered the ultimate way to shop secondhand this summer. So. Many. Cute. Things. Let's just say I had to purchase more hangers.  Three times.

#6 Watching my kids kayak
For vacation, we stayed in a cabin on a little lake in Southern Illinois.  My kids have never been in a kayak before, but they both took to it like fish to water.  (See what I did there?)

#5 Flowers
I love these flowers.  They are sold at my local Farmer's Market.  This year they offered a subscription.  I was all about it.  Luckily these will continue once I go back to school

#4 Dance Recital/Father's Day
I wrote a whole post about this here if you want to read it. This year the girl's dance recital was later than usual.  The last performance day fell on Father's Day.  We were able to have a family get-together afterwards which is hard to pull off these days. 

#3 Books
Again, a repeat.  But if you read my blog at all, you know how I am about reading.  There's so much more time to read in the summer!  And listen to podcasts about what I should read next.  And make trips to the library.  You get the drift.  Some of my faves this summer: The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Truly Madly Guilty, The Girls, and Love That Boy.

#2 Wrigley Field
I love, love, love the Cubs.  This is the year.  I made it back to Wrigley after too many years and got to see my husband and kids experience it for the first time.  Oh, and the Cubs won that day.  Here's the entire post about this trip.

#1 The Hobbit House
We took a three day anniversary trip in June to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.  I don't like to plan ahead for trips, but I actually made this reservation back in December because I wanted to stay in The Hobbit House so badly.  It was magnificent

It always makes me feel good to look back on the summer.  I'm incredibly lucky to have all this time to do what I want.


What's Up, Wednesday?

I skipped last week's Wednesday post because, frankly, there wasn't much up.  This has been an odd summer.  I've felt kind of off-balance.  I know it's mostly because I'll be changing schools this year, but it's also the feeling that my kids are growing up.  A trip to our little zoo or Children's Museum just doesn't do it for them anymore, which leaves me feeling a little sad.   It seems harder to find fun things to do together in the area.

I've been focusing on getting prepared for the new school year.  I feel like every time I turn around  I'm hauling more stuff into work.  I really trying to be mindful of what I take in because the room was such a blank state that I didn't want to junk it up with a bunch of old, worn-out stuff.  Of course, that means I've been buying new stuff.

Friday night was wonderful.  Both kids spent the night with a friend which worked out perfectly because we had concert tickets.  We went out to eat, had some hard peach cider, and enjoyed the band.  I may be getting too old for bar concert crowds, however, as just about every person there annoyed me in some way, shape, or form.  From Dancing Girl who had No Sense of the Space Around Her to Large 20 Something Guy Making Extremely Loud Obnoxious Sounds Just Because He Can While the Band Was Playing, there were plenty of people I could have done without.  I may need to stick to tamer venues from now on.

Taken by Excessively Drunk Guy Who Wanted to Be Our New Best Friend

I finished Love That Boy by Ron Fournier.  I heard about this book because it was one of my choices for Book of the Month Club last month.  It was not what I chose to have delivered last month, but I wish I had since I ended up enjoying it much more than the choice I did have delivered, Rich and Pretty.

I also finished The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin.  I loved the book I previously read by her (The Swans of Fifth Avenue) so much that this was a must.  It did not disappoint. 

I started another book last night which is an unusual choice for me, Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.  The time period and style are what makes it an unusual choice, but I had heard so many good things about this book recently (so creepy and suspenseful!) that when it was $1.99 on Kindle recently, I decided to expand my horizons and give it a try.  We shall see.