Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weird Shakespeare

I read The Weird Sisters this weekend, and I enjoyed it. It's about three sisters (duh), but they are not really all that weird. The title refers to the three witches in Macbeth, and I don't actually think it's a good title for the book, because the sisters aren't anything like the witches, even if you take into account that the earlier word "wyrd" means Fate. (I was going to go off on a little English-teacher lecture there about the connection I think the author was trying to make, but I've decided not to.) Anyway, Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia are the daughters of a famous Shakespearean scholar, and they all quote Will whenever possible. Which is quite a bit.

And me being me, that put me in the mood to read some Shakespeare myself. Recently I went to see As You Like It, so I reread that. (I will have to teach Macbeth next semester so I will get plenty of weirdness then.) I felt physically horrible all day, but the play successfully distracted me. And I felt like rather than merely lie on the couch all day, I lay on the couch READING SHAKESPEARE. Clearly I was engaged in a worthwhile activity! Also, it was interesting reading it with a background of the TV shows "Victorious" and "Wipeout" blaring in the background while my children stayed in their pajamas all day eating everything in the house that was not nailed down. My refined culture: let me show you it!

Anyway, even if you do not enjoy reading Shakespeare for fun like all of us cool people, The Weird Sisters is an enjoyable book. All three sisters return home to the sleepy college town they grew up in, each with her own secrets. I know that sounds like every chick lit novel ever, but the author does a good job characterizing Rose, Bean, and Cordy. If I like the characters, I want to find out what's going to happen to them, and this novel didn't disappoint me in that regard. Also, I don't have a sister, so the insight into that relationship was intriguing: the sisters alternate between jealousy and loyalty at the drop of a secret. Yet they also learn that life won't allow them to remain trapped in the same roles they have always assigned themselves in their family.

Here is where I wish I had a perfectly appropriate quote from W.S. to sum up The Weird Sisters. What about this famous one, from As You Like It:

                                            All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And each man in his time plays many parts....


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Newest Member of the Family

So this weekend we adopted a puppy from a rescue organization. It took a while--we had to fill out an application, talk to a volunteer on the phone to make sure we are decent people, visit the dog's foster home and make sure we all got along, then wait for someone to call three people we had listed as references, have someone else come over to do a home visit, and meet the original volunteer at the pet store before the foster mom brought her to us. All of it took a couple of weeks.

It might sound excessive, but they are just trying to make sure their dogs go to a good home. All of the volunteers were very nice and helpful. Since I haven't owned a dog as an adult--and it's been a long time since Justin has, too--it was nice to get the latest information on the best food, healthiest treats, and which things not to waste your money on. So the pet store visit, which at first seemed pointless, turned out to be a good thing.

Our puppy is a little 10-month-old terrier mix named Gidget. That's what they'd named her and we kept it because it fits so well. She's 9 pounds--perfect for scooping up on your lap and cuddling with her. She is settling in very well and seems to enjoy being here with us. We love having a doggie around...clearly this was the right time and the right dog for us!

Without further ado, here are some pictures.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Life List: 100+ Things to Do in My Lifetime

In January, I read a book called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think and I found it very interesting. One of her suggestions was to make a life list--a bucket list, if you will--of things you would like to accomplish with the rest of your life. The idea is that by being intentional about things you want to experience, you will spend more of your 168 hours a week working toward making these things happen.

I liked the idea, made a list (with a little help from Justin and Miss Pink) and then got buried in work and didn't look at it all spring. Yet somehow I accomplished or worked toward some of these anyway--they must have gotten into my subconscious. Also, some of the first few are things I'd already done before making the list, because they are pretty important things (and because the author said I could!)

So without further ado, here is my Life List (in no particular order):

1. Graduate from college. (May 1996)
2. Meet an amazing man and marry him. (June 7, 1997)
3. Go to graduate school. (2000-2001)
4. Buy a house. (April 2002)
5. Have children. (December 11, 2002 and February 23, 2006)
6. Finish re-doing the kids' rooms (working on it; bought the bedspreads in June 2011, now we just need to  paint)
7. Put 3 months' salary in savings (started with the tax refund we got in June 2011; will set up automatic withdrawal into savings)
8. Learn to make the no-knead bread I have a recipe for.
9. Return to England and visit some things I didn't get to the first time, including Windsor Castle and Stratford-on-Avon.
10. Attend a performance of one of Shakespeare's plays at the Globe Theater.
11. Take (or have someone take) more pictures of myself. Seriously, it's ridiculous how old the pictures on my blog and Twitter account are.
12. Save for and buy an excellent mattress. (done, April 2011)
13. Have a family photo session every year.
14. Buy only clothes that I love and feel great in. (so far, so good)
15. Commit to exercising at least 3 times a week (SO not doing this right now)
16. Push myself to exercise harder rather than barely breaking a sweat.
17. Read The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to the kids. (We are planning to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Miss Pink gets back from camp--so this was a good reminder.)
18. Go on an American history tour up the Eastern seaboard when the kids are older.
19. Visit San Diego.
20. Write a book.
21. Get it published.
22. Clean out the garage.
23. Keep it from piling back up again.
24. Vacation at a dude ranch.
25. Learn conversational Spanish.
26. Go on an African safari.
27. Visit New York City.
28. Make some scrapbook layouts about me.
29. Take more "everyday" photos and scrapbook them.
30. Landscape (i.e. plant some shrubs in) our front yard.
31. Buy a gas grill and use it more than we do our charcoal one.
32. Ride in a helicopter.
33. Swim with dolphins.
34. Learn to shoot a pistol.
35. Become certified to teach Advanced Placement classes. (will take 1st Gifted & Talented classes in July 2011).
36. Teach Pre-AP or AP classes.
37. Go snorkeling.
38. Adopt a dog (Done July 2011).
39. Live in a house with a library which has a library ladder.
40. Write a 6-figure check to a ministry.
41. Listen to 1,000 new songs. (15 down)
42. Teach a college course.
43. Send birthday greetings to friends and family members on time!
44. Take the kids to Disney World.
45. Inspire at least one student per year to read more of an author they discovered in my class. (Done for 2010-11!)
46. Make Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls.
47. By the time my kids are 18, make sure they know how to do all household chores and manage money.
48. Become debt-free.
49. Visit Hawaii.
50. Experiment with new makeup colors and products.
51. Read or re-read all of Shakespeare's plays.
52. Host a fancy dinner party by candlelight.
53. Visit Italy.
54. Read or re-read all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories and letters.
55. Watch all the movies on the AFI Top 100 list.
56. Make our bedroom an inviting, restful place.
57. Go on a camping trip with the Girl Scouts. (done, May 2011! And I never want to go again!)
58. Create meaningful traditions that are unique to our family for major holidays.
59. Find and wear a good red lipstick.
60. Read a cognitive therapy book about anxiety and implement its suggestions.
61. Buy cute pajamas/nighties (done, but this will need to be kept up)
62. Visit Australia.
63. Get more frequent pedicures (meaning more than once every 3 years)
64. Get a facial.
65. Get laser hair removal (In progress, first treatment done.)
66. Attend a black-tie event in a fabulous dress.
67. Visit New Orleans and eat at some famous restaurants.
68. Eat at Paula Deen's restaurant.
69. See Joel McHale's act in person.
70. Rent a motor home and go on a cross-country trip including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and Yosemite National Park.
71. Read at least one spiritually inspiring book per year.
72. Subscribe to The New Yorker again.
73. Have a regular date night with my husband.
74. Use my Android phone as my day planner Done! I can't live without it now.
75. Buy a pair of custom-made jeans.
76. Buy at least one quality cashmere sweater.
77. Buy picture frames and keep current pictures of my family displayed in them at home and at work.
78. Own and wear some beautiful vintage clothes.
79. At least twice a year, buy a style item that I have never tried before. (June 2011--gladiator-style sandals)
80. Sponsor a child through Compassion International.
81. Go whitewater rafting.
82. Ride in a hot-air balloon.
83. Buy a classic, high-quality leather purse and keep it for years.
84. Go on a carriage ride with Justin.
85. Try sushi.
86. Eat at a fondue restaurant (Done, June 17, 2011! I'm hooked--it was delicious.)
87. Hire a personal shopper.
88. Get a manicure to see if it keeps me from biting my nails.
89. Lie on a quilt in the back yard and look at the stars.
90. Get a waffle iron since we've wanted one forever!
91. Begin having weekly family devotions.
92. Get my ears pierced when Chloe gets hers done.
93. Swim in the ocean at sunrise.
94. Kiss the Blarney Stone.
95. Have afternoon tea at the Ritz in London.
96. Visit the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
97. Visit Washington D.C.
98.Take a self-defense class.
99. Read something from the Bible every day.
100. Start and end each day with prayer.
101. Introduce someone to my Savior.
102. Tell (and show) my family I love them every day.
103. Love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

I plan to revisit the list and post about notable experiences from it as I have them. Since I turn 36 on Friday, it's time to get started making some of my dreams come true!


Monday, July 4, 2011

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.  ~Erma Bombeck

                                       Happy 4th of July!