Friday, July 24, 2015

Oward to Canada for the World Cup! Pictorial, part two

hen and mia @ uncle nick and aunt megan's backyard pool

drinks @ our home away from home

morning @ vancouver, bc

night @ vancouver, bc

hazy day @ vancouver, bc

women's world cup final @ bc place

me and the old man @ bc place

vp biden with the winners @ bc place

Book forty-six: See How Small by Scott Blackwood

Meh. I really liked some parts of the story but it was so disjointed I couldn't get a handle on the specific characters. This speaks to my inability to carve large amounts of time out to read large passages rather than small segments whenever I have a free second more than the author's inability to tell a good story. Since I'm usually reading when my attention is focused on more than just the book in front of me - like when Hen's swimming and my eyes continually check the pool to find out where he is at and if he appears in distress* - I kept plugging along even though I often found myself asking which character was which and how they were connected with the overall tragedy. Perhaps I'll try this one again someday when Hen is out of the house and I am able to make time to enjoy it. Because those parts I did like, I really liked. There's no doubt Blackwood can spin a yarn.

46 down plus 6 to go. Woohoo!

*Don't panic and label me a bad mama. This is at the community pool where there are between 7 and 13 lifeguards on duty so I feel it's okay not to watch my boy every second. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I read this book to Hen over breakfast this morning. (You can buy it here.)

Me: The tree takes in the Sun's energy, carbon dioxide, and water  and converts them into sugar for food.


Me: Yeah, the tree eats sugar all day.

Hen, mumbling: Unfair.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Book forty-five: Descent by Tim Johnston

Caitlin goes for a run in the mountains with her brother in tow. Her brother returns. She does not.

And so begins the tale of Tim Johnston's Descent. Full of suspense, heartbreak, terror, and grief, this tale goes beyond retelling the horror Caitlin experiences while captive, allowing you to feel the family's loss as well. Denise, the mom, goes back home and tries to start living. Grant moves to the town so he can continue the search. And, once mended, her brother (a.k.a. Dudley and "the boy"). grows up, leaves home to search for the boy he lost on that mountain, trying to fix what went wrong.

This is a book that will grab you and hold you until the end.

Personal growth in the kitchen

Note: This is a 'pat yourself on the back moment', brought to you by Christie. 

I am definitely getting more comfortable in the kitchen. (And just a shade over four decades, alright!) 

For example, this morning I went to the kitchen intending to make blueberry muffins for breakfast. I'm using Smitten Kitchen's recipe

The first hurtle I had to overcome* was the lack of plain yogurt or sour cream in my fridge. No problem, I'll just use vanilla yogurt. We normally have that on hand and the addition of vanilla can't hurt. 

Nuts. There is no vanilla yogurt. But we do have blueberry. We'll give that a try. 

Nuts. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup and I have about a 1/2 cup. But we do have buttermilk. We'll give that a try. 

Once all the ingredients were sorted out and substitutions made, I continued with the muffin baking experience. I totally winged it on the amount of buttermilk, pouring it in until I received what I hoped was the correct consistency, which S.K. says is "quite thick". I also adjusted my baking time down to 17 minutes from her original 25 to 30 minutes. My muffin tin is smaller than the standard size so I'm going to get around 15 muffins.

I'm typing all of this up as my first batch is baking. 

Approx. 7 minutes later…
Success! Hen says the muffins are "the best" and that I "would win if I made these muffins on MasterChef". 

*In the olden days this initial setback would have been enough to derail the project. 

A rose is a rose is a rose

Hen, takes a whiff as we cuddle: Mama, smell your armpits.

Me, after sniffing both pits: Smells good.

Hen: I know. It smells like flowers.

Me: It does smell like flowers.

Hen: What? Are you rubbing your armpits with flowers all day long?

Me: Yep.

Thanks, Dove deodorant. My pits do smell good.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

the pool. THE POOL!

Hen is tall enough to hit the pool by himself. 
And so are his friends. 
We're going to spend a ton of time in chlorinated water this summer.

first one in at the Sellwood Pool

slide at the Montavilla Pool

preschool friends (left to right: hen, emory, eliot)

Onward to Canada for the World Cup! Pictorial, part one

leaving downtown Portland for downtown Canada (a.k.a. Vancouver B.C.)

oyster shell @ Horseshoe Bay

he ain't scared @ Capilano Suspension Bridge

one piece of many @ Vancouver Art Gallery

shenanigans @ Canada Place

Hen squashed by a $3,000,000 raindrop

Hen and his papa @ Spanish Banks

wave excitement @ Second Beach

Abby's goal @ B.C. Place

End of the school year, a belated post by mama

I saw a bunch of friends on Facebook - yes, I'm on Facebook still - post pics comparing the first day of school picture with the last day. I'll try to keep this type of future post in mind next year and make sure I get similar pics for a better side-by-side comparison. It's pretty obvious that the kid had a haircut at some point before the end of the school year. What isn't quite as noticeable is the couple of inches Hen grew this year. Also, he's much cooler. (Note the shades and the shirt, which has trees on it that are saying, "Humans breathe our farts." You can't say this kid isn't a cheeky monkey.)

As an aside

Am I really only 8 books away from my goal of 52 for the year? Really?!

Book forty-four: The Family Man by Elinor Lipman

With a hastily sent note of condolence, Henry Archer opens the door to his past, reuniting with his quasi-crazy recently widowed ex-wife and their now-grown daughter. This is a humorous and touchy read with familial themes of obligation and love and charity and forgiveness.

A good read for a vacation, I'd say.

44 down plus 8 to go.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Book forty-three: Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

Family drama, family drama, family drama.

Bart has been shipped to Afghanistan. Mitzi has left with Santa Claus. Margaret is finally able to go on a vacation. And Kelley wants to cancel Christmas.

The family, minus Mitzi who flees the scene, descends on Winter Street to celebrate the holiday. Secrets are exposed, and they must figure out how to be a family. One wonders if they'll be able to.

43 down plus 9 to go.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Book forty-two: The Precipice by Paul Doiron

Doiron is a new author for me. It's a mystery, which I haven't read much of since, well, Nancy Drew. Two women go missing on a remote hiking trail in the Appalachians. Later, two unidentified bodies are discovered. Coyotes are suspected. But there is something about everything that bothers Bowditch, the local game warden. 

With a bevy of possible suspects there are twists and turns that'll make you think you have it figured out but you don't.

42 down plus 10 to go.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Book forty-one: Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America by Brian Benson

A Lucky Day! find at the library turned out to be a really great read. Brian meets Rachel. They decide to bike across America. And then they do it.

I appreciated when Benson finally understood that Rachel's experience was different from his own. (It takes him awhile to get there.) His pleasure, spending days in the saddle tackling gigantic climbs, is not hers.

His writing is heartfelt. His story is interesting. Haven't we all contemplated the cross-country journey?

41 down plus 11 to go.