Fun While it Lasted

Picnic at Balboa Park
You will never guess what he was actually doing

This odd looking maneuver is the end of MJ's cartwheel!  He claimed he could do one, but I kept forgetting to make him show me.  I can't believe that it has taken me (a former gymnast) seven years to get around to seeing this man's cartwheel.  I have no idea how he ended up in that position at the end of a cartwheel but technically, he can do it.  He needs to work on his form but I promised to help.


After my parents moved to Vegas I was happy to find out that they had decided to come back every four months for my Dad's Doctor's appointments at UCSD Medical Center.  My dad can see a doctor there who knows about kidney's but not one who does kidney transplants and is used to seeing patients that have had one, so they decided it was worth it for that reason alone to make the drive three times a year.  Plus, they get to see me.  The timing for this appointment couldn't have been better since I had Friday and Monday off for President's Day.  The weather couldn't have been any better either so we decided to take advantage of it and do a Picnic at Balboa Park.  Valentine's Day was a footnote.  We went to dinner that night just to go, but we are not big Valentine's Day people so despite the parade of Red and Pink on social media and the random gift shops that popped up in gas station parking lots selling tacky stuffed animals and garish balloons it was just another date night for us.  I didn't even get a picture, and MJ forgot his wallet!

My mom and I spent an entire day running errands and we were in Kohl's so long that by the time we came out we were shocked to see that the sun had gone down but we knew exactly what happened.  We are REALLY slow shoppers! By the time we finished we were starving.  I made a Chipotle run while my mom ran into the Grocery store to get Ice cream sandwiches for my dad.  I was sitting in my car waiting for her.  She sent me a text message asking me what kind of Girl Scout cookies I wanted.  I knew I wanted the Peanut Butter Patties not to be confused with Peanut Butter Sandwich but I couldn't remember the exact name so I checked.  A Girl Scout asked me if I would like some cookies and I said, "My mom is coming to buy them, I just wasn't sure what kind."  Tagalongs, I texted her back.  When she got into the car with the cookies she told me as soon she said she wanted Tagalongs one of the girl scouts said, "Oh, your daughter was here, asking about these."  We laughed when I told her I felt about 12 years old saying that my mom is buying them.   No matter how old I get have to admit that sometimes I like that.  When you are an adult ensconced in bill paying, laundry, doing and fitting it all in when you are not at work it's nice to feel like a kid again sometimes.  Up to and including your dad driving you nuts because that is what he does, but loving him anyway. 

We shopped.  We went to the movies.  We cooked spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.  And then sooner then you can believe it the weekend is over and you are back at work, but it was so much fun while it lasted.

I'm Reading Again!

For someone who loves reading so much I can't believe this is the first book review to ever grace my blog but I shouldn't be.  I'm sadly aware that I haven't done a whole lot of reading over the last five years.  Yes, FIVE.  I'm blaming MJ because the reading stopped the year we got married.  I was so distracted by my him and everything else that I didn't make time for it.  Then I was so occupied with blogging and trying to write my own book that I forgot how much I enjoy it.  I didn't make New Year's resolutions, but if I did read more would be at the top of the list and I'm trying to make that happen.  I checked out five books from the library over Christmas Break and finished four in January.  After one renewal I knew I was going to run out of time and that one would be going back to unread.  That last pick turned out to be my favorite one of the bunch.  When I returned them I limited myself to two because realistically, with work and everything else I figured that's all I'd have time for.  I already finished one!  Instead of choosing from just the 'free' or 'cheap' books off of Amazon I went to the library and found books I was really interested in reading so when I have spare time I reaching for a book instead of the remote.  And they are still free!  Project read more in 2015 is going good so far.

Without further ado, in the order in which they were read....

Best Friends Forever, Jennifer Weiner 
Addie Downs and Valerie Adler were eight when they first met and decided to be best friends forever. But, in the wake of tragedy and betrayal during their teenage years, everything changed. Val went on to fame and fortune. Addie stayed behind in their small Midwestern town. Destiny, however, had more in store for these two. And when, twenty-five years later, Val shows up at Addie’s front door with blood on her coat and terror on her face, it is the beginning of a wild adventure for two women joined by love and history who find strength together that they could not find alone. -Via Amazon

My thoughts:
I really liked it!  I was interested right from the start and that remained throughout.  Addie's friend Val was a super annoying character, but she was so annoying because that was her character and the author did a really good job of conveying that.  There was a really cute love story worked in there as well.

Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult
Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens--until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened before her very own eyes--or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show--destroying the closest of friendships and families. -Via Amazon

My thoughts:
I've never read a Jodi Picoult book I didn't like.  She had me at My Sister's Keeper and at some point I want to read everything she has written.  There are quite a few at my public library, with multiple copies even, so I should be able to get my hands on quite a few from there.  She is an amazing storyteller and my only critique about it is that sometimes she's such a good storyteller that the storytelling words go on longer than I wish they would.  Sometimes I just want her to get to the point and found myself skipping over a sentence or two to get there.  It does not prevent me from wanting to read more from her though.  There was also a lot of going back and forth between the past and the present which was confusing at first but I got used to it. The story line was really interesting.   We see the shooter as a monster and based on their actions they are, but there are two sides to every story and this book does a wonderful job of telling both.  We get some insight into what can turn a person into a monster and it is heartrendingly sad.  She makes the reader love him a little bit which is really hard to do because he has ruined so many lives and in the end I felt totally conflicted.  

Ladies' Night, Mary Kay Andrews 
Grace Stanton’s life as a rising media star and beloved lifestyle blogger takes a surprising turn when she catches her husband cheating and torpedoes his pricey sports car straight into the family swimming pool.  Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home, checking account, and even the blog she has worked so hard to develop in her signature style.  Moving in with her widowed mother, who owns and lives above a rundown beach bar called The Sandbox, is less than ideal.  So is attending court-mandated weekly "divorce recovery" therapy sessions with three other women and one man for whom betrayal seems to be the only commonality.  When their “divorce coach” starts to act suspiciously, they decide to start having their own Wednesday "Ladies' Night" sessions at The Sandbox, and the unanticipated bonds that develop lead the members of the group to try and find closure in ways they never imagined.  Can Grace figure out a new way home and discover how strong she needs to be to get there? -Via Amazon

My thoughts:
It took me a while to warm up to this book and even half way through I still wasn't sure if I wanted to keep on reading.  I soldiered on because it's really hard for me not to once I start reading or watching anything.  The writing was a little bit repetitive in some places but overall it was a good story.  I was glad I stuck it out to the end, although I'm not sure I would recommend it just because it was so slow and hard to get into.

Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok 
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles. -Via Amazon

My thoughts:
Out of all the books I read in that bunch this one was my favorite!  I read it in all in one day on one chilly glorious Sunday where I spent most of the day in my granny robe cozied up with this book.  The author is an amazing storyteller and captures Kimberly's experience so well.  I really enjoyed this character.  I was rooting for her so hard to make it and overcome the life circumstances that had been thrust upon her.  It's definitely a must read.