Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Question 7

So remember back when I said I was going to do a month long blog challenge?  No?  Well, I don't blame you...I think I did a total of 3 days?  Way to stick to it, huh!  So today I was thinking that I have nothing to write about and have not really written much lately, and decided I would go back to my blog challenge and just pick a question that interested me.
Naturally, I picked question 7.  "Do you read?  What are your favorite books?"  Ok, so that is 2 questions, but the first one is an obvious duh, and thus the second one is really the only one with which I am concerned. :)
I have loved to read since before I can remember.  Books hold a certain magic for me, and I'm convinced that my love of reading contributed to my A's in English classes and all other classes which required paper writing.  I have had the best teachers: Hugo, Lewis, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and oh so many more.  While growing up, my family lived in a 100+ year old house that would get a little chilly in the winter.  The warmest place in the house was directly over a heat vent (the vents are in the floors in old houses), so I would put on a long skirt, and sit directly over top of the vent, with a cat in my lap, and a book in my hand.  Those were the most glorious and adventuresome times in my life, and I will always appreciate that my father passed down his love of reading to me.  I was even put on "book restriction" twice growing up, where I was not allowed to read and instead had to watch tv with my family, or have a conversation.  My mom was afraid that I would be socially awkward and a huge nerd I guess. :)  Looking back, that was actually quite possible, considering that I would try to read a book during dinner instead of actually acknowledging those around me.
Because my love of reading began so early, I have read some pretty awesome books in my life.  I could spend days writing down all of the books that I have loved, hated, and appreciated, but I'm sure my reader numbers would go down and I would bore you guys to death.  (plus you can just click on the link at the top of my page that says Goodreads to see the books I have rated)  So I'll try to narrow it down, and just list some pretty exceptional ones.
In each title, I'm going to put a link to the Wikipedia page for the book so I don't have to explain the entire plot.  (and if there are any English teachers reading this, yes, I know Wikipedia is not a reliable source)  Here goes (in no particular order):

This is by far one of my favorite books.  I have read the abridged version at least twice and plan on reading the long version one day.  (my understanding of the unabridged version is that there is a whole chapter devoted to cheese.  What could be better?!)  Set in the early 1800s it follows the life of the main character Jean Valjean and his path to redemption.  It is set in France and discusses the 1832 June Rebellion.  The writing is incredibly vivid, insightful, and deep not just in explaining the characters' transformations, but the transformation of a nation as well.  There is a movie version coming out soon that has several of my favorite actors/actresses in it.  I certainly hope it does the book justice. 

This book is by far the best romance novel and best Christian fiction novel I have read.  This story also has themes of redemption, much like in Les Mis.  The main character, a female and former prostitute named Sarah, is taught of the grace and all consuming redeeming love of Jesus through the love of her phsysical savior and loving husband, Michael.  This book portrays a romance based around the love and forgiveness of Jesus and outlines a relationship that we each should strive towards with our spouse, a love as Jesus loved the church.
 I just recently finished this book, and it definitely ranks up there as one of the best nonfiction books I have ever read.  It tells the epic story of WWII and POW survivor, Louis Zamperini.  The trials that Louis experienced during his time on a life raft in the Pacific and at a Japanese internment camp are almost unbelievable.  The writer is an excellent storyteller and definitely did her research.  The book has several pictures and accounts from many different friends, relatives, and fellow serviceman who knew Louis.  Those looking to read more history surrounding WWII would find this book incredibly interesting.


 This book is definitely not for the faint hearted.  A nonfiction book, The Devil in the White City jointly tells the story of the 1893 World's Fair, and the serial killer, H.H. Holmes, who haunted Chicago during that time.  Being a Criminal Justice major, I found this book incredibly interesting.  An author who can keep my interest explaining the unveiling of the world's first Ferris Wheel and the pathological nature of a murderer deserves a medal in my opinion.  Clearly and concisely written, Erik Larson creates atmosphere and intrigue in a history of one of the world's first serial killers, without scaring the reader. 

For "lighter reading" I have always enjoyed reading the different books in the Chronicles of Narnia.  Narnia is, in essence, a land of fantasy, filled with magical beasts and children.  It is sort of difficult to explain the story line, other than that it is an interesting and fantastical way of retelling the Salvation Story.  Though on the surface level, it is easy to dismiss this series as mere "children's book," The Chronicles of Narnia have incredible depth and an even more incredible and relatable storyline.  It's funny to think of the fantastical creatures and small children as being "relatable," to adults, but their struggles and fears offer such insight into the hearts of humans, no matter how old or young. 
C.S. Lewis is, in my opinion, one of the greatest Christian writers to ever live, and I completely appreciate his willingness to write a book geared towards children, when most of his books are more philosophical and more adult geared.  There is a reason why these were his best sellers. 

Oh dear, it is hard to narrow these down!  I could go on and on listing books, but I think 5 is enough for right now?  Hopefully I inspired you guys to get out there and read some!  Perhaps I will have fiction or nonfiction Fridays where I talk about a new book?  Let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bing's New Trick

Bing was getting a little jealous of all of the attention that cAtticus was getting, so I decided to give him a little pat on the head and post a video of his new trick.  I think he's a pretty smart cat. :)

video

Hope everyone's having a good weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

cAtticus Finch

So it seems we have a new member of the family.  And no, I am not pregnant. (I figured some of you would think that).  We started noticing a little gray cat hanging around a couple of months ago.  He was very skinny and very skittish so I felt bad for him and fed him.  Husband would probably say that was my first mistake (he's not a huge cat fan), but I just couldn't chase him away.  The cat, not Husband.  :)  Though I wouldn't chase Husband away either! 
 For several weeks, I would sit outside after my runs and pet Bing (my other gato) and just kind of ignore the gray cat.  I guess he eventually realized that tall brown headed girl does not, in fact, eat cats, and got comfortable enough to let me pet him.  Soon after, it became apparent that gray cat liked our digs and our foods and was going to assimilate himself into our family.  I finally caved in and gave him a name.  cAtticus Finch.  (If you're not sure who that is referring too, blame your English teacher and then check here).  I think the name suits him, what do you think?
What you talkin' 'bout Willis?
 He makes me a little sad because he's always so serious.  Bing wants so badly for him to play, but he just won't.  It's like he had no childhood!  Or, well, kittyhood, I guess?  Maybe he'll loosen up a little.  Husband still calls him "gray cat"  But right now, he definitely reminds me of Gregory Peck's 1962 interpretation of that famous character. What do you think?
 I guess it's time for a little bloggy name change?  A girl, a guy, a gecko, and los gatos!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Collection

The other day I was watching a movie on my laptop, with some headphones in, when Husband waves his hands to get my attention.  I remove one ear and ask him what he needs, and he triumphantly holds up a jagged piece of nail that he has pulled from his toenail.  He was so exuberant about this sliver of keratin that I had to swallow the "you seriously interrupted my viewing of Mirror Mirror for that?" and grin and say "oh good Honey!  Anything else"?  Truth is, these nail clippings, or "Collections" as Timothy refers to them, usually hang out on the arm of his chair until I sweep them into my hand and dispose of them. 
Husband's impressive Collection of nail fragments
The next night, he went to show his dad his giant nail scrap, and realized that I had done away with them.  He was quite disappointed.  I think I'm going to buy him a tiny tin to keep his "Collection" in because he's just so dang cute and proud about it.  Anyone have an Altoid tin they'd like to donate? :) 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bringing home the gold

For those of you who don't know, I work at a sound and lighting company.  We have a rental/production division for theatrical and musical performances, and an installation division where we design and install audio/visual equipment in the corporate, government, education, and church fields which is keeping us very busy at the moment.  So last Friday, my coworkers and I took some time out of our busy schedules to film ourselves a little Olympics video, where we competed in different sporting events using audio/visual equipment.  Hope you enjoy our little video!  Oh, and make sure you pay attention to who has the gold medal (light) around her neck...hint hint I'm the only female in the video. :)
 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Apples

Today Husband and I were feeling a little under the weather, both have a little head cold.  So I decided to make a little snack I saw on Pinterest to cheer us up.  I made "apples in a bag," a really easy recipe where you just put cinnamon, sugar, cornstarch, water and diced up apples in a freezer bag and nuke them for a few minutes.  I baked some cinnamon sugar tortilla triangles in the oven to eat with them.  The apples tasted like the apples at Cracker Barrel.  It was delish and so easy!
Recipe here!
Hope everyone had a good weekend!!! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cheesecake

Sitting in the living room after dinner tonight, Husband looked at me and said "I think it's about time for you to make another cheesecake."  I liked how confidently he said that, right after I had cooked a delicious meal...right on to a time consuming dessert.  Oh, men. 
But because I'm a sweet obedient wife (whenever there is not a weapon nearby) I decided to start looking up cheesecake recipes on Pinterest.  I've made 1 cheesecake in my life, and it took forever.  And I don't know where the magazine is that had the recipe in it...So anyways, I'm perusing Pinterest, trying to find a yummy sounding cheesecake, and friends,  I found this beauty:
Photo found here.  Photographed by Dominique Bader
How magnificent is that?!  It is like heaven on a platter!  It is a veritable cheese cake.  Made from actual cheese!!!  If Pinterest had been around when I got married (allll those years ago.  (read 2)) and had seen this beautiful and clever cake of cheese, I would have totally copied it.  And secretly hoped that nobody would eat the cake and I would have allll of those leftovers to myself!!!!
So anyways, back to real life...anybody have some good cheesecake recipes that they would like share?
Oh, and P.s. I just showed this picture to Husband and he said "You'll have to remember that for your second marriage."  Real optimist that one..