Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 2017 Books

Covers from Goodreads.com

I absolutely loved Quiet. I felt that this validated all of my life choices (enjoying working remotely rather than being in an office, preferring to watch group dynamics than participate, etc.) and helped me feel that these qualities I've tried to change since I was young actually have a desirable strength to them. Mike felt her claims went a bit too far beyond what the scientific evidence suggested. I just liked that there is room for everyone to have success, even the "shy". Overall, very awesome.

Progress through this short, dense, academic book came in fitful spurts until I had the fabulous (and obvious) idea to listen to Beethoven's symphonies as I read the chapters. This heightened my enjoyment considerably, and my Beethoven obsession continues. Symphony #5 is still my favorite go-to, but Symphony #9 is so complex and amazing and Symphony #7 is perfection (skip to 14:42 with a good set of headphones and FEEL ALL THE FEELS). So I don't have all that much to say about the book (a big meh for a non-academic music enthusiast), but I definitely recommend listening to Beethoven. All day. Every day.

I am trying to expand my reading horizons, so I delved into some poetry this month. SO MUCH POETRY. Frost was very prolific. Lots of very long (very long) beautiful poetry that apparently does not keep my interest well. There were a few gems I loved, but this was a difficult book to make it all the way through, even just reading a couple a day.

This was another solid showing from Sam Kean. The connection between the stories was a little more tenuous than his other books, though the writing and science were strong. We both really liked it.

Super short, unique YA read. I liked this a lot. I think I like unreliable narrators for some reason. Maybe I just feel humanity in general is an unreliable narrator and I just like people who are honest about it. Ha.

A suspense novel (a little out of my normal fare), but I liked the premise so I brought it home. The plot made it difficult to put down, but I realized that, after all that was going on, that I hardly cared about any of the characters. I just felt very removed, despite all that was happening. I liked it, but I don't know that I recommend it when there are better options.

I listened to this book on a work trip, and I thought it was fascinating (both on a personal and historical level). It got hard to follow by the time the third- and fourth-generation of astronaut wives showed up, but the original seven were spunky and interesting.

Finished this YA novel I'd been meaning to read for some time. I mostly liked it. I liked both main characters and felt their interactions and internal dialog was very realistic. I didn't really like the romance being crammed in and underdeveloped between some already heavy themes. Overall, I liked it. I really like the quote that, "Mean people are just unhappy people." Probably would have changed how I approached high school, had I learned this.

Skip this one. The subtitle is misleading and the whole thing devolved into academic speculation, rather than giving the evidence and stories. Long and dry. There were a few women that seemed fascinating, but they got a little lost in the details of covering the centuries of time between them. 

Sound advice, in a pretty short, accessible package. My favorite idea from this is (paraphrasing), "None of these principles are complicated. People just don't want to do them because they are hard and require discipline."

I was really excited about this book. I thought I would learn all about the different parts of the human body and what each one needs to stay healthy. I thought it would fill in my embarrassing gaps of knowledge about how biology works. Alas, this book was more of a myth-busting platform for a journalist with an MD and focused on his pet peeves of anti-vaccine movements and Department of Agriculture subsidies of research and products. There were some interesting points but it was not what I was expecting at all and the book felt all over the place as it answered "questions". My favorite part to complain about is when he argued that adding Vitamin D to milk (a vitamin-calcium combo that began in the 1930s as a way to cure rickets) was no longer necessary because we now eat things like spinach, kale, and salmon. I thought to myself, "This man clearly does not have children; there is no way a child would choose 4 cups of spinach and a slab of salmon over a half-cup of milk." 

I had a similar experience with Salman Rushdie's new book as I did with his very famous Midnight's Children. I want to tell people it was good--but I don't really think that. But I liked the writing and the character development was so interesting...but I didn't actually want to read it. It's a very confusing experience for me. The book clearly needed to be edited and shortened, but there were very nice parts that would have been cut out and should have been cut out. The editors were probably confused too and that's why this book got published at 380 pages instead of the 250 it probably should have been. So the verdict is I think you should maybe skip it? Or maybe read it? I don't know.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Quick Boise Trip

O and Cait took a quick trip down to Boise to see the Meridian Temple Open House, celebrate Trevor's birthday, and go to Papa Seegs' concert. Cait was feeling sick all weekend and pretty much just laid on the floor...so...not a lot of exciting pictures.

As we passed the paintings inside, O would point and say, "Jesus!" It made my heart so happy. We are so grateful there are so many temple-houses near where we live!
(O: "So, so, so bright!")
This was O's first concert and he did pretty well, with Nat's kind attentions! It was impossible to see Papa Seegs from the very back where we were sitting (hidden in front of the bassoons), but the group did a fantastic job!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

O's preschool group went out to the pumpkin patch at the Country Mercantile. He was so excited.

He then bent down and picked up the first pumpkin he saw. And that was it.
Mike tried to convince him to pick a different one...but O has inherited Mike's one-track mind.

Cute boys. Yep, playing hooky was definitely worth it!
The kids holding onto the wagon.
Climbing on the haystack...O just ran back and forth through the tunnel at the top.
We looked at all the animals. The rabbits were the favorite.
Hello, Goat.
Haystack maze
Hamming it up for the group picture.
O could not get enough of this experience and is still talking about it. He says, "Where we going? The pumpkin patch?"

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Parking Lot Improvements

We got excited last week when excavators, steamrollers, pavers, skid steers, and dump trucks all pulled into the parking lot and got to work.

O took his cars outside and would hold each up saying, "Look! It matches!" The workers were very nice and drove the trucks slowly by where we were sitting so he could see them.

Unfortunately, Mike's and my excitement didn't last long when we realized (1) they had towed our car because we had parked in the no parking zone, which wasn't clearly marked (we thought we were far enough down the strip) and (2) they weren't fixing the entire parking lot. For reasons known only to cheap apartment complex owners, only some parts were deigned to be fixed. So now we have an uneven parking lot. The car-sized pot hole did get fixed before we got stuck in it (I really was worried about it for a few weeks) and a little boy was thoroughly entertained for a few days.

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Cait (trying to see what O would like to dress up as for Halloween): "What do you want to be when you grow up, O?"
O: "A tomato!"

Mike (paraphrasing scriptures): "And Lehi sent them back to get some wives."
O: "But why?"
M: "See Mommy? She's a wife. We need a wife to get married."
O: "But why?"
C: "Heavenly Father says we all need to be married. A boy needs a girl and a girl needs a boy."
O: "I think...I think...I need a frog."

He will also randomly say, "SHHH, MAMA!" and be very still and whisper, "What noise?" When I ask him what the noise is, he'll respond with, "Fire truck" or "Lou" or "Couch" or "Tomato" [he likes tomatoes these days] or whatever random thing he sees.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Parking Lot

Still into trucks these days.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Black Light Fun

We got some new black lights, so, naturally, we had to look through Mike's rock collection. SCIENCE is soo cool.

This ammonite had such interesting patterns!

The super bright orange one is calcite and it drowns out all the others. The other calcites glow orange too, but you can barely tell next to that one. The gypsum is yellow, and the quartz (chert) in the other rocks are red. The fluorite is the blue on the right and the apatite is the blue at the top. It's so interesting to see how each rock responds to the light, even rocks of the same type.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Pictures

Cait thought the boys looked so handsome that we should take a few pictures after church. Love them, so much.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Overheard at the Pharmacy

Mother with a young son: "Hi, we need to get a flu shot."

Pharmacy tech: "Both of you?"

Mother: "No, just him. I already accidentally got mine, so I don't need one today."

Pharmacy tech (blank stare)

Mother: "My husband was giving our horse a flu shot and accidentally stabbed me in the arm with the syringe."

Mike (internally): "How...what...?" (pulls out phone and immediately texts Cait)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bats Bats Bats

For FHE, we made some Halloween bats! We learned a little about them while we made them (and we're not sure if we're more or less weirded out...?). O took the whole thing very seriously, and I love their similar concentrating faces.

Mike hung our bats. O, of course, wanted the big googely eyes.

Things are looking spooooky!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pulling up Tomatoes

M: "Hey, Cait. We need to pick all the tomatoes and pull up the plants."

C: "Really? Why?"

M: "It's supposed to freeze this week."

C: "The weather has been so nice! Who told you it was going to freeze?"

M: "Who do you think told me it was going to freeze? Who would tell me we needed to pull up all our tomato plants because it's going to freeze?"

Cait got his hint and laughed.

(We have a lovely, lonely, bored 70-year-old neighbor who doesn't have a lot to worry about. Except us and what we're doing and where we're parking and when we're coming and going. All day. Every day. She is well intentioned, if a little invasive.)

So we pulled up the tomato plants. The vines were probably 8 feet long...and we had dozens of tomatoes!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Pullman Sunset

It was almost as good as our NM sky.

I actually enjoy this once-a-month commute.


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