30 June 2012

Whirlwind Weeks

I've had so much to write about and so few pictures available to share in the last few weeks. I often use the excuse of "gotta get the pictures off the phones and the camera before I can write a post" as an excuse not to write a post. So far this isn't really working out well for me. (Or for you, my sad, sad, readers who have surely missed me greatly.)

True to my catch-up-on-blogging style, you may have a summary of my last few weeks of life via a bulleted list:
  • Eric's sister and her family were in town. We hung out with them in a canyon, and it was fun.
  • Then Eric's brother and his family were in town. They stayed with us overnight on Wednesday night.
  • On Thursday they took Ike while I went into work for an impromptu thing. I've never spelled out exactly why I was traveling for work so much in May. In short, I'm now one of several people who can act as an official spokesperson for my company. It has been a lot of fun. The shoot I did that Thursday was at the Salt Lake Public Library, and it was unlike any I had done before. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, I'll probably share details about when this spokesperson gig will be on television. But I might not. We'll see.
  • After being a TV star I met up with a whole bunch of Eric's family at Grandma L.'s house where we had dinner and went swimming. Ike hadn't seen me all day, and he didn't seem to care one iota when I showed up at Grandma's house. Clearly hanging out with cousins all day is awesome. He also hadn't been swimming since last summer, and I didn't know whether he would think swimming was awesome or horrible. Turns out that he liked it.
  • That night Eric's brother and his family went to stay with Eric's parents, and Eric's sister and her family came to stay with us. Ike had so much fun with his cousins, but I think he especially enjoyed this particular cousin. It was very fun to watch them interact together. This cousin was extra lucky to be at our house on Friday morning when the garbage truck came. Both boys happily watched it drive up the other side of the road, and then eagerly anticipated its return on our side of the road.
  • While Eric's sister and her husband were getting ready to head over to Eric's parents' house and take Ike with them (so I could wrap up my work for the week and then follow a few hours later), I was notified that our home was being evacuated because of a rather large wildfire nearby. More than anything else, I was put out that I had to pack the belongings for three people without adequate time to make a list to be sure I wasn't forgetting anything. We ended up only staying overnight at Eric's parents' house, which made for twelve extra people in the house. It was a lot of fun.
  • A little while after I arrived at Eric's parents' house we all went to the Bean Life Science Museum (a.k.a. the Dead Animal Zoo.) I had taken Ike with my brother's kids back when they were here in March, and he enjoyed it then, but it was nothing compared to how much fun he had that day. He ran around like a crazy person barking and growling at all the animals. Also waving and saying "Hi!" I was very sad that Eric was at work and missing out on the fun. I was also a little sad that my child is so exceptionally friendly with dead animals and much less so with people.
  • Saturday morning we all went to the planetarium in Salt Lake City. Then Eric and I dropped back by the Bean Museum so he could enjoy watching Ike enjoy the dead animals. It was just as amusing as the day before. That afternoon we went swimming again.
  • We managed to get in one game of Puerto Rico with Matt and Michelle before Eric and I had to head home.
  • Only I didn't go home. I went to the airport to pick up my friend's little sister. She had never been to Utah before, and she was in town to attend a camp at BYU. On Sunday morning we went to Temple Square and watched Music and the Spoken Word. Then church. Then down to BYU to drop her off. Thus ended the craziness.
  • Except then we all came down with something that had no real symptoms except making us all feel pretty blah. Then we got over it. But there is a fun story and a great picture once I get the picture off my phone. This will obviously be some future post that may or may not happen.
  • Today I mowed the lawn again, and Eric and his dad labored in the yard building rock walls.
  • I am pretty much wearing exclusively maternity clothes. Still people are telling me that I do not look pregnant. That is kind of them. And I will admit that I am still very small for 25 weeks.

19 June 2012

Review: Truman by David McCullough

This book deserved the Pulitzer that it won. It's awesome. It was my first David McCullough book, and now I may have to find another. (The only one we have at home is 1776, which is a signed copy, but Eric says I wouldn't really like it very well. So I'm hesitant.)

I bought Truman on the cheap in 2007. I started reading it in 2009. I picked it up again earlier this year, and about five months later finally finished it. Not including notes, it's just shy of 1,000 pages. While it's not a challenging read, it's not a particularly easy read either. I really wanted to finish this book, so the rest of my reading has slowed significantly while I've focused on this one. It was definitely worth my time.

I first heard of Truman from my government teacher my senior year in high school. Her name was Ms. Bourgeois, and she was pretty awesome. She told us many times how much she loved David McCullough's book about her very favorite president.

Other than that, my knowledge of Harry S. Truman was really limited. I knew he took over after FDR died. I knew he made the final decision to drop the atomic bombs in Japan. I knew he was the president when the Korean War (which I don't think is technically called a war, even now) began. Other than that, I really didn't know anything about him, his policies, or the other huge things that happened while he was in office.

Because I knew so little about him, I found myself frequently excited to know what was going to happen next in the book. Would he ever win Bess over and convince her to marry him? Would he win this election? How about this next one? My knowledge of American and world history during his time in office was pretty limited to the big picture items, so there were many details about his presidency that were totally new to me. This made the book much more of an interesting and exciting read for me. If I had had a detailed knowledge about the start of the Cold War in particular, I'm not sure that the book would have had quite as much appeal for me.

I found myself frequently reading bits of the book to Eric and retelling stories to him. My father-in-law has read Truman, and so has Grandma L., so that made this past weekend fun for me since I could discuss it with both of them when we were doing family stuff together. If you have not read it and consider yourself an American history buff, you should read it.

05 June 2012


Last May I wrote about how I was excited to get into gardening even though I didn't really know what I was doing. Even though our gardening efforts were pretty minimal last year (just a few flowers and shrubs around the perimeter of the house), I've been pleased with what I learned. (For example, growing rhododendrons in Utah is possible but requires a lot of effort - effort that I'm far too lazy to bother with. We will be digging up the rhododendrons in the next little while.)

So far, I've learned:
  • Roses are easy, at least in Utah. We really haven't done anything, and they've bloomed wonderfully. Eric did prune a couple of the bushes a few months ago, but most of our bushes are of the Knockout variety, and thus do not need pruning.
  • The Asiatic lilies multiplied. This was awesome and unexpected, and we'll probably be planting more of those.
  • I quite enjoy weeding. Not enough to come do your garden, but enough to spend a few minutes every day plucking weeds out of the grass and gardens, while Ike runs around in the yard like a crazy person excitedly shouting about all the cars. The weeds in my yard have significantly diminished, thanks mainly to my sitting in the sun and laboriously plucking those monstrous spread-out-everywhere-ground-cover-type weeds by their roots. I have been less diligent with the side-yard on the north side of the house, (which also happens to be where the failed rhododendrons are.) That's for this week.
  • Applying weed and feed to the yard is not particularly exciting. I do not know why I thought it looked like some kind of fun. It wasn't. (But it is something I'm fully capable of doing and removes one thing off Eric's to-do list.)
  • I do like mowing the lawn with our old-school reel lawn mower. We decided we'd buy one last year, but we never got around to it. Instead we (read: Eric) borrowed the lawn mowers of our various (and very kind) neighbors. Usually it took Eric about 20 minutes to mow our lawn. We have a lawn the size of a postage stamp and no need of mowing in the back. (Nor will we.) Finally this year we bought one of those reel mowers. Eric used it a couple of times, and then last weekend asked me if I wanted to try it. I was hesitant because I don't even like to mow lawns with a gas-powered mower. (I know because I did it once when I was 14 and from then on determined that mowing the lawn was most definitely a Man Job.) Anyway, Eric was busy with the deck and the hill, so I figured I'd attempt to help him out by mowing our lawn. And it was not hard. It took me about 35 minutes, and it would have been faster if I had been more accustomed to using the device. I fully plan to keep mowing the lawn, at least for this summer. (Again, because Eric has this monumental task of terracing the back yard and building rock walls. Mowing the lawn once a week is the least I can do to help maintain our property.) Plus, mowing the lawn with the reel mower was a perfect workout. I'm, for now, geekily excited to do it again (Saturday morning, after I pick up the co-op food.) Also, mowing the lawn gives me an odd sense of feminist machismo; I may not evereverevereverever have a baby without an epidural, but I can mow our lawn.
  • I will definitely be consulting with Eric's aunts about what plants to be putting in our terraced back yard. I have a few in mind, and then I'll need guidance about locations, space, complimentary plants, which plants to plant to make sure something is blooming all the time. A few plants I know for sure I want: forsythia bushes, lavender bushes (are they technically bushes?), lilacs, tulips, probably some more roses.

03 June 2012

All Decked Out

We finished our deck like a week ago and finally bothered to take some pictures with Eric's phone this week. There you have it. Now we have an access to the hill that is our back yard. We're getting rocks delivered tomorrow so Eric can continue terracing and building rock walls. It's going to be a long summer.

Also, that's our little vegetable garden in the top photo. The peas, green beans and Swiss chard have taken off. The broccoli never did. Too bad.