Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: The Devil in the White City

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. And I can thank this third pregnancy for that. I have been inordinately lazy this time around and I'm afraid it's eating away at my soul. Yes, people, my soul! Some people sell their soul to the devil and I sold mine to motherhood.

More on that later.

This book was SO GOOD. It's non-fiction but you'd never guess by the style it's written in. I can't imagine churning such a large amount of research into a story that reads as if it's fiction. An amazing feat. A huge applause for Erik Larson.
This book follows the facts and events leading up to the World's Fair in 1893 while simultaneously following the story of the first ever detected serial killer of the United States. Both stories true, both fascinating. I loved learning about this portion of American history while being completely entertained. You need to pick up this book so we can chat about the World's Fair and annoyingly talk about it among others who, most likely, will know nothing about it, that way we can act more educated and thus better than everyone else. Isn't learning fun?
Whenever I mentioned the premise of this book I found people would shudder when I mentioned the serial killer thing. And to those of you who shuddered, you guys are wimps. But, if you really need me to stroke your hair and tell you it's going to be okay I will say, the serial thing does not get graphic or descriptive. I mean, one could more offended watching Sesame Street, or at least the Sesame Street featuring Katy Perry. You know the one.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: The Rosie Project

I loved this book, so much more than I thought I would. I would describe it as a quirky love story. You'll fall in love with the characters. I found I laughed out loud a few times.

The main character of the book is all set to find a wife. He realizes he is weird and is aware of the some of the reasons behind his inability to find a mate. It's clear he has asperger's syndrome. Yet the book explores this syndrome in an accessible and entertaining way. The main character holds the narrative so it feels as though you are inside his head.

Rosie, who becomes his love interest is a little rough around the edges and like everyone she has as story that is not obvious in the beginning. I loved the exploration of the two characters as individuals and then as lovers. It is a feel good, hilarious read that will leave you feeling like there is someone for everyone.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Review: Dad Is Fat

Dad is Fat is a humorous autobiography written by Comedian, Jim Gaffigan. I'm a fan of his stand up and when this book was recommend to me by a friend it didn't take long until I picked it up. Well picked it up is the wrong term. I actually read this one through audio. My husband and I spent our eight year anniversary in St. George and I thought a book would be the perfect way to kill a long car ride. I downloaded it right before we left because I knew it would be a book we could both enjoy. A husband and wife both enjoying the same book. Rare.

His book is all about his experience raising five young kids in a two bedroom New York apartment. His observations of his children are funny and if you are a parent, they will ring in painfully true, which I believe is the heart of true humor.

A couple of things I enjoy about his humor is his ability to keep things clean while still being creative. I have to imagine that this is hard to do as it seems most comedians resort to crude and sexual humor. The other thing is, while he makes fun of his kids and his wife, his love for them gleams through the pages with a brightness that is so refreshing.

It made me feel better as a parent. It made me feel like we are all in this mess together, that none of us knows what we are doing. We are all just making it up as we go along. Making rules that momentarily work in our favor and usually ruin us in the long term.

I loved this way he spoke up about his wife. He sang her praises and we just don't hear enough of this kind of positive talk in our culture today.

I'm giving this book five stars. It's a relaxing laughable read. A perfect vacation book.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Awful Dinner

Today was fine, until dinner. I try so hard. I honestly do. When I make a grocery list I look through my fridge and add items to the list that we are in need of. Then I look through my cook books and my pinterest board to determine the upcoming meals for the week. I try new meals and most of the dinners I cook are fairly healthy and also include at least a fruit or veggie on the side. As you can see planning, shopping and cooking meals is a big part of my job. To have my kids not touch their dinner is discouraging to say the least. But tonight was more than discouraging. This dinner was disgusting! Even to me, and I have labeled myself as the world's least pickiest eater. I mean, you guys, I love food, I love all food, I love all flavors and I even consider myself an adventurous eater. I actually think it's one of my better traits.

After I literally could not choke down my broccoli stuffed tillapia I began to question everything I was doing in my life. Thoughts started flooding my brain.  I'm not a good cook! Why do I try do hard? Was the fish even cooked all the way through? Aw shit I'm going to give my whole family food poisoning! What am I doing with my life? I'm not a good mother! What business do I have raising kids? Should I go back to work? Maybe the nanny could cook dinner? And to think I borrowed an egg for this god awful meal!  I f****ing HATE pinterest!

And now I know bad thoughts proceed bad actions. My daughter threw a fit because after I had given her a popsicle and then offered her another popsicle she instead wanted a chocolate Hostess cupcake. Admittedly she was probably starving. I know I was. I told her no. She threw a tantrum I told her to go to her room. She did not and then all hell broke loose. She escalated her fit and I began to yell. I absolutely hate this about myself. I grew up in a yelling kind of house and when I'm at the end of my rope, I yell. I lose it and I yell. It's awful. I felt horrible.

I left her in her room to scream and yell and went to the freezer retrieved the Hostess cupcake left over from when I had to bring soccer treats, and went into my closed garage and ate the coveted cupcake. I figure at this point you can't be all that surprised. I'm a bad tillapia cooking, yelling piece of shit. Did you really think I wasn't going to eat the cupcake she was crying over? If you did, then you have too much faith in me, and it is now time that I disappoint you.

So there I was crying in the garage and eating a cupcake. A low point for sure. My days at home with the kids are not easy and most of the time I question if this is what I should be doing. Especially on a day like today when it seems like I've done more harm to my family than good. I've heard a lot of women say they always knew they wanted to stay home with their kids. I, however, have always been open-minded about the idea of working or not working. But I fear this open-mindedness has somehow turned into constant doubt. I wish I could embrace the chaos more than I'm able to and march confidently through motherhood. But for now I'm going to eat some oatmeal in my messy kitchen that reeks of fish, because I'm starving. Here's to hoping for a better tomorrow.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Review: Yes Please

I will ever support women in comedy. I think I've said that at least three maybe more times on this blog. Why? Well because I love to laugh and let's face it in a world where women are so praised for being pretty it's refreshing for a woman to be labeled as funny.

Oh and the other reason is that I have this ongoing nightmare that I will arrive into the afterlife and meet Susan B. Anthony. In my nightmare she gives me a disappointed look, like, come on little lady what exactly did you do to help the cause? I cower for a bit but then I square up my chest, squint my eyes, point my finger right at her and say, "Oh Susie B. don't you remember? I always read books authored by women and shows produced by them. I supported their inappropriate and bold humor because I thought it revolutionary!" She'll look at me with the same scorn on her face that Sally Fields had when she looked upon Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias but hey I'll just pretend that I don't understand social cues and ask her to lunch.

So let's get to the review. It's funny and Amy Poehler is a phenomenal woman and powerhouse to the world of comedy. I loved her on SNL and was entertained by the behind the scene glimpses she gives of her experience on SNL.

I envy the relationship she has with Tina Fey. It is rare that two women in the same business can be supportive not competitive. They are an example to us all.

I was thrilled she wrote so much on Parks & Recreation as I have been a fan of the swho since it's first season.

I also loved how she complained about writing the book throughout the entire book. It was amusing and humble.

Poehler is mega successful but still approachable as she lets you in on her personal life which has had it's ups and downs like we all have.

Finally, I SO appreciated her short talk. "Short people don't like to be picked up." I can't sufficiently tell you how true this is! I spent most of my childhood years being picked up by my peers. It was unbearably humiliating and completely annoying. I only wish she had mentioned being patted on the head which was also a constant for me.

I was touched by her advice to stop wanting the pudding. For that translation you'll have to read the book.

Cheers to you Amy Poehler!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Looking Back at Last Year's Resolutions

Do you ever go back and see if you achieved last year's resolution? It seems like we just move forward. I challenged myself to look back at a resolution I wrote down last year. Remember this post?
My goal was to tap away at my neglected keyboard. I had dropped my writing habit, and my intention for 2014 was to get myself writing again.

Despite popular life coach advice to make all goals measurable, specific and exact mine was not. But you know what? Not being exact left me with an indreibly open mind. My first brave venture of 2014 was to attend a writing group. It seemed everyone was hacking away at novels. I didn't know if I was cut out for such a task but I courageously tackled a couple chapters just so I could show up to this group. As part of the group writing process I read my ameature novel out loud and then was critiqued out loud the following week.  It was the scariest thing I've done.  It was harsh and humbling. I went for a couple more sessions and guess what I learned? Now is not the time for a novel, for now I'm focusing on shorter pieces like articles. This humiliating experience like most humiliating  experiences taught me something of great value. I'm glad I went and I hope I will be in a position to go back one day. I don't think I failed per say I think I fell. And it's okay to fall, because that is how we learn.

Being open minded meant I was open to rejection and acceptance. I submitted a piece to ksl and they rejected it. But the amazing thing was the editor called me on the phone and left me a message. Did you hear that? Called me. Not email, not IM, not text. She said something like, "We cannot accept this article and I would like you to know why, but I can see you have talent for writing and I would love for you to try again." She asked me to call her back.  At first I was irritated, like many of us are at the first sign of rejection and then as I swirled it around in my mouth the taste turned from bitter to sweet. The same editor gave me a personal assignment. I did it, she worked with me and got it published. This gave me the courage this write another piece for ksl, which they published and I hope to continue to work with them. This is a story of rejection and acceptance. They both hold weight and meaning.

Before this I had ask me to write and review products for them. It has been a joyous gig in where I test out outdoor gear and equipment and then I write reviews about said gear. I also write for their other sections. It's never once felt like a job more like hobby where I get to pursue my passion of fitness and the outdoors and then sew them all together with my writing. I absolutely love it and I hope they'll keep me on for years to come.

So here we are in February, more than a year later. Did I achieve my goal? Of course I did because I took the total cop-out approach of being completely vague about my ambitions. Okay that's one argument. But the answer I like better is YES I did achieve it only because my so-called vagueness allowed me to let go of goals that were unlikely and out of reach and embrace what is possible for me at this time in my life. I'd like to say I did more, and I will do more but for now I feel like I am inching my way toward something I've wanted to do for a long time.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ski movie highlights Utah, female athletes, local resort

My latest Article is up on KSL today!
Ski movie highlights Utah, female athletes, local resort
I have to say this has been a pure joy from beginning to end. I went with my whole family to Park City to see it. It was a SOLD-OUT show! I didn't take notes, I just soaked it all in. As soon as I got home from my Park City getaway I did a bit more research and scribbled this out. KSL took it on, but it sat in editing for awhile. I rearranged it and sent it again to editing. I talked with the editor and told her I thought it was a piece with a lot of potential. I am thankful she saw it too.

I love that in a very small way I am creeping toward my goals.
To those of you who take the time to read my stuff, I thank you.