Thursday, December 29, 2005
Blogging 2005


January
I was thinking about starting a blog.

February
I started this blog on a day when I had a ton of work to do, and didn't feel like doing it. I thought I'd talk about books I read (I still do that some) and homeschool stuff (I quickly decided that was about as exciting as watching someone pick their nose).

The first post of mine that I thought was actually funny and interesting was Real Mean Don't Pluck Their Eyebrows. I was proud of my work digitally plucking the superhunks.

March
I wasn't sure if I was even going to mention that I'm a Mormon on my blog, but I jumped in with a post about My Mormonism. Immediately, I wanted to take it down, but left it up and was glad I did.

I actually took TV Fat down after I published it, but my husband thought it was really funny (and so did Crapples), so I put it back up. It's one of my favorites now. I also wrote about Invoking Hitler and wrote one of my first art posts, about the one hit wonder of One and Three Chairs.

April
I had insightful commentary about Kings of Leon. I also wrote about Doubt and waxed nostaglic about BYU.

May
I wrote about Jan Vermeer, my sister's eating disorder, and a 70s guy who was probably born in the 70s.

June
I wrote about public parenting, misheard lyrics and asked the age-old question, Who is the 'Funkel?

July
I waxed nostalgic for the umpteenth time about Music and Memory and pondered civilization found in a glass of ice water.

August
The girls started school. Grace loved it and Lillie went back to homeschooling, which led me to write about The Quit.

September
I remembered September 11.

October
I wrote about Connie Chung's Investigative Crapfest.

November
Another serious post about being Mormon and looking through a glass darkly.

December
We had a lovely Snow Day and bought a puppy.

Poetry
My favorite poem for the year is The Wait.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
2005 Lists
Shea and Sarah&Jeremy have listed their top 10 albums of 2005. I like the idea, but I haven't even bought 10 new albums this year. Instead, I'm listing my best and worst of the year.

Best Movie of the Year

Dear Frankie. This was a wonderfully sweet movie. If you haven't seen it, see it. Honorable Mention to Millions.

Worst Movie of the Year
Shark Boy and Lava Girl. Hands down. You could not make a more awful movie even if you tried. But, there were many, many other crappy movies we saw (at least part of) that deserve mention: First Daughter, The Perfect Man, Chicken Little.

Best Book Read
Peace Like A River
This is what I love about keeping track of the books I read on this blog. I was able to review (almost) all of the books I've read this year in three seconds. I know I'm missing a few (what did I read in October?), but I'm not missing too many.

While I enjoyed all of the books, the two that stick out the most are Peace Like A River by Leif Enger and Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. They both had phenomenal writing and real characters that I missed when the book was over. The ending of Peace Like A River blew my mind.

Worst Book Read
I didn't read any books that actually deserve to be called Worst Book. I started a few, but I don't remember them. Of all the books I read, I think I was most disappointed in Good Faith by Jane Smiley. Smiley is usually so fabulous, and this was just so-so.

Best Song of the Year
Upward Over The Mountain by Iron and Wine.

Worst Song of the Year
Although I've never listened to them from start to finish, I think My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas and Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani have got to be the Top Two. Though not on the same mind-numbing level, I also can't stand Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day.

Best Album of the Year

An Iron & Wine CD that Crapples burned for me (it has songs from The Creek Drank the Cradle, The Woman King, Our Endless Numbered Days, and The Sea & The Rhythm).

The Finn Brothers Everyone is Here gets Honorable Mention.

Worst Album of the Year (that I bought)
Love is Hell by Ryan Adams. The Amazon review that convinced me to buy it said that this has a Whiskeytown sound. Uh. Not so much.

I've only listened to it twice (so it's possible it will still grow on me), but both times the earnest desperation and general whiny tone made it impossible to listen to almost any of the songs all the way through.
Monday, December 26, 2005
puppy


The girls have been asking for a dog for five years or so now. About four years ago we had a stray dog adopt us, but when we moved we left her with David's mom. She is a stray at heart, and wouldn't have done well with a small yard (that, and there's no way she will ever get into a car if she is conscious).

The girls have gone dog-crazy since we moved here. They ask for a dog about once a week and we finally came around. We talked to a few neighbors and read some of Grace's dog books. We initially thought we might get a Pug, but they shed a lot. We thought about a Westie, but they are kind of aggressive. We looked into a Border Terrier or a Jack Russell Terrier, but they like to dig. We know three different families that have Boston Terriers and they all had really good things to say. It's small, doesn't shed or bark a lot, and is good with kids. Really, every dog that we looked into had pros and cons, but at some point you just have to go with one.

We looked in the paper and David picked out a little male Boston Terrier. Christmas morning he woke up before the girls and got the little guy. I was surprised at how calm he seemed when David brought him in. He's only seven weeks old and is a tiny fella (he weighs under two pounds). David brought him into the girls' room and woke them up. It was so sweet to see their tired faces go from confusion to delight. The puppy got all excited and started jumping around the bed with them.

He slept a lot yesterday, peed a few times on the carpet and a few times on the newspaper. Both times he pooped, he did it on the newspaper. Amazing.

He seemed to alternate between being sad & scared and excited & playful and just plain sleepy. Before we went to bed last night he really played hard and we just had so much fun watching him.

When we went to sleep I kept expecting him to whine, but I didn't hear a peep out of him all night.

The girls are playing with him right now. I can hear them giggling. It was a great Christmas.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Friday, December 23, 2005
Santa


I never believed in Santa Claus. The story was that my dad was really upset when he found out that Santa wasn't real, so he didn't want to do the whole Santa thing when we were kids. The idea of Santa was still fun, though. Even though we knew Santa was mom, the fun was trying to catch her. We never did.

When Grace was little, David and I decided not pretend that Santa was real. When she was four, she asked if Santa was real and we told her no. But, the next year, she talked like she believed in Santa Claus. We figured if she wanted to play the game, we'd go along.

Grace has figured out that Santa isn't real, but I think she did believe in him for a time. We've never pushed the idea too hard but Lillie still believes. I'm assuming she'll just gradually figure it out like Grace did and won't have a big moment when she realizes it (and gets really ticked off at us - which I can picture).

What did you think about Santa when you were little? What do you tell your kids (if you don't have kids, what do you plan to tell your kids)?
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Merry Christmas!


I won't be on the computer much the next few days, so I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Friday, December 16, 2005
favorite lines in songs


Last night I started thinking about what a fabulous line this is:

She comes back to tell me she's gone
As if I didn't know that
As if I didn't know my own bed
As if I'd never noticed
The way she brushed her hair from her forehead


I think that may be the most perfect line in a song. So, I started thinking about my favorite lines and this what I came up with:

She killed his past
With her kiss
All past was but a lie
She killed his head
She killed his mouth
And opened up the sky




Now all I've got for you,
Is the kind of love
that cuts clean through.
All I got for you is razor love
It cuts clean through.




I saw Elvis Presley walk out of a 7-11
And a woman gave birth to a baby and then bowled 257
Now the excess of fat on your American bones
Will cushion the impact as you sink like a stone




And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself - Well... How did I get here?



And your heart beats so slow
Through the rain and fallen snow
Across the fields of mourning
Light's in the distance



It's time the tale were told
Of how you took a child
And you made him old
You made him old



I found some blood I wasn't meant to find
I found some feelings that we'd left behind
But then some blood won't mean that much to me
When I've been smothered by the sympathy you bleed.




I noticed that all of these are old songs, they're all stuff I've been listening to since college. They are better if you know the song and can sing it in your head, I think.

How many do you recognize? What are your favorites?
posted by lochan | link
9 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, December 15, 2005
I think I bruised my neck meat

The last few days I have vacillated between announcing a blogging break and thinking I had a great post to write.

My neck and back have been killing me all week and I have no idea why. I feel like someone took a 2 X 4 and whacked me in the middle of my back and then slammed the base of my skull. It's a little better today, but still, I think that post will have to wait until next week.
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Friday, December 09, 2005
stuff
Walden Pond, 1900

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau

When David and I got married, I don't remember how much stuff I had, but I know I didn't have to rent anything to move it. When we went to Japan a few months later, we each had only two suitcases each. I left a few wedding presents and other things with my sister, but I never took them back.

When we left Japan, we had accumulated lots of second hand and gomi (things found looking through other people's trash) items, but we left most of it behind and came back with just the four suitcases. When it came time to move six months later, we rented a mini-van to move our stuff. The next five moves or so, we were able to move with just a U-Haul trailer. After that, it's been a U-Haul truck.

Lately I've been wanting to go through our stuff - to burn off the slough, as Thoreau would say. I've gone through the girls' room, but that's it. When we were moving more often, I would have a reason to sort through our stuff and give away things and throw away junk and organize what we keep. Now I need to make myself do it.

I've been thinking fondly on the days when my daughters had just small cardboard box of toys and when we didn't even have a couch. I don't really want to get rid of my possessions. If I did, I'd likely turn around and buy something similar. All I really want is to not buy more things, be happy with what I've got, and feel like I have control of the things that I do have.

I thought as I wrote this that I would come up with a point. I guess the real point is to step away from the computer and get to work.
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, December 08, 2005
history I remember


25 years ago today, John Lennon was shot and killed. When I first heard about it, I thought that Jack Lemmon had died. I totally knew who the Beatles were, but I think I had a clearer idea who Jack Lemmon was than John Lennon.

When asked once how he expected to die, Lennon lightly said, "I'll probably be popped off by some loony." John Lennon was only 40 years old.
posted by lochan | link
3 comments and fresh takes

Wednesday, December 07, 2005
A date that will live in Infamy


Attack on Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941
The surprise was complete. The attacking planes came in two waves; the first hit its target at 7:53 AM, the second at 8:55. By 9:55 it was all over. By 1:00 PM the carriers that launched the planes from 274 miles off the coast of Oahu were heading back to Japan.

Behind them they left chaos, 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. (from eyewitnesstohistory.com)

Listen to FDR's speech to Congress on December 8, 1941.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Monday, December 05, 2005
hang on

Hang On, 2004, Louise Bourgeois

But why think about that when all the golden land's ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see? - Jack Kerouac



This work makes me think of a poster I had when I was a kid of a kitten hanging on to a tree branch that said Hang on (or maybe it was Hangin' on). Except this is arty and sophisticated and it can seem sad and desperate or funny and sweet, depending on how you feel.

Louise Bourgeois is one of my favorite artists. She was born in 1911 and some of her best work is her recent work, done in her eighties and nineties.

Here's another piece of hers.


The Night, 2001, Louise Bourgeois

I have no idea what it means, but the image is wonderful. The colors are vivid and there's a Dr. Suess thing going on that I love.

View more art by Louise Bourgeois.
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

farrrr out


This made me happy today.
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

Friday, December 02, 2005
hope

Hope
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, December 01, 2005
walk out to winter


Walk out to winter, swear I'll be there.
Chill will wake you, high and dry
You'll wonder why.
Walk out to winter, swear I'll be there.
Chance is buried just below the blinding snow.
You burn in the breadline and ribbons and all
So walk to winter


We woke up to a lovely blanket of snow outside. Grace's school was delayed for an hour and a half, but the girls hardly slept in. When that alarm rings, you feel like you want to sleep for another hour, but all you really want is another 20 minutes or so. They were so excited to see the snow, they threw on coats and mittens and ran outside to make snow angels.

The girls were amazed that the snow was falling in the street! Last year we had hardly any snow (just enough to make a mini-snowman) and they were disappointed. This is their first real snowfall since moving from California.

I made pancakes and eggs and thoroughly enjoyed the late start. When we were homeschooling both of the girls, one of David's friends told me I should put them in school just so they can enjoy Foggy Days off of school. I thought that made no sense, but today I got what he meant a little. If Grace hated school and a Snow Day was some sort of respite then I think it would just make me sad (although, really, if she hated school I wouldn't have her go to school). But, it was fun to have a little break.

The snow is still softly falling down.
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Name: Laura

I have five kids including triplets. I'm too busy to blog, but I do anyway (uh, sometimes).

Learn more about me



My Antonia
by Willa Cather

June

Sarah's Quilt
by Nancy Turner

May

Maus
by Art Spiegelman


Housekeeping
by Marilynne Robinson

April

These Is My Words
by Nancy Turner


The Myth of You and Me
by Leah Stewart

March

Inconceivable
by Ben Elton


Songbook
by Nick Hornby


Follies
by Ann Beattie


Hungry Planet

February

About a Boy
by Nick Hornby


High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby


Stargirl
by Jerry Spinelli

January

Revolutionary Road
by Richard Yates


Morality for Beautiful Girls
by Alexander McCall Smith


A Long Way Down
by Nick Hornby


How to be Good
by Nick Hornby


Mere Christianity
by C. S. Lewis

December
Click here for a free Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon

Good Faith
The Know-It-All
by A. J. Jacobs

Good Faith
Endurance
by Alfred Lansing

November
Good Faith
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd

September

Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini


The Good Earth
by Pearl S. Buck

August

Freedom of Simplicity
by Richard Foster


Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

July

Celebration of Discipline
by Richard J. Foster

Peace Like A River
Peace Like A River
by Leif Enger

Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe

Gap Creek
Gap Creek
by Robert Morgan

June
Life of Pi
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel

My Name is Asher Lev
My Name is Asher Lev
by Chaim Potok

A Prayer for Owen Meany
A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving

All New People
All New People
by Anne Lamott

May
Patrimony
Patrimony: A True Story
by Philip Roth

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters
by J. D. Salinger

Good Faith
Good Faith
by Jane Smiley

Cradle and Crucible
Cradle and Crucible History and Faith in the Middle East
by National Geographic Society

April
Saturday
Saturday
by Ian McEwan

Blue Shoe
Blue Shoe
by Anne LaMott

Emma
Emma
by Jane Austen

Operation Shylock
Operation Shylock
by Philip Roth

March
Jane Austen: A Life
Jane Austen: A Life
by Claire Tomalin

To See and See Again
To See and See Again
by Tara Bahrampour

Reading L0l1ta in Tehran
Reading L0l1ta in Tehran
by Azar Nafisi

February
A Thomas Jefferson Education
A Thomas Jefferson Education
by Oliver Van Demille

Still Alive
Still Alive
by Ruth Kluger

The Screwtape Letters
Not The Germans Alone
by Isaac Levendel

Still Alive
World War II: A Photographic History
by David Boyle

The Screwtape Letters
The Screwtape Letters
by C.S. Lewis

Persuasion
Persuasion
by Jane Austen

January
Climbing Parnassus
Climbing Parnassus
by Tracey Lee Simmons

With the Old Breed
With The Old Breed
by E. B. Sledge

All But My Life
All But My Life
by Gerda Weissmann Klein

We Die Alone
We Die Alone
by David Howarth