Archive for February, 2009

Chatty girls

My little daughter is two. And she is the most delicious thing. And she is SO chatty. Here are some of her favorite things to say.

“I am a robot.” (said in a very robotic voice)

“I am a midget.” (Trent taught her this.)

“I am not an alien, I am a Brookey.”

“Mommy, you hurt my feelings.” (She often says this to me after she has gotten in trouble for something. She says this in the sweetest, saddest voice. It ALWAYS melts my heart.)

“Aliens ate my homework.” (We’ve been listening to this book on tape. I guess she had her ears pricked too.)

“I am a monster.”

“I am a pretty princess.”

“I wanna take a bathtub.”


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100 books

I admit I totally stole this post from Compulsive Writer.

From the BBC via La Yen

X means I’ve read it even though apparently the BBC presumes most people have only read 6 of 100.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien x
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee X
6 The Bible (the WHOLE Bible) X

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte X (I really hated that book.)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman X
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy X
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier X
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot x
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy X

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame X
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens (I think I have read the first half of the book at least 20 times, but I never could go beyond that point.)
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis X
34 Emma – Jane Austen X

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen X
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini  X

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden 
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X 
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown X  (I wasn’t that impressed with this book.)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez O
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert X
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville (I’ve tried, really I have, but never could make it through.)
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker X
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce X
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath X
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray (Also another book I really tried, but I just couldn’t do it.

80 Possession – AS Byatt O
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X (Every last one.)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad X

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery X\
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute X (This is one of my all time favorite books.)
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare X

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl X
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo X

I would love to see what you’ve read. I would really like to like Dickens better, but he just doesn’t appeal to me, although the Pickwick Papers had me laughing hysterically the entire time. Perhaps, I should give it another go.

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It’s no secret that I really enjoy driving. I grew up in Wyoming and driving on the wild, lonely stretches of road is very soothing. Add to that great driving music and you have nirvana. Unfortunately, driving in Wyoming, where three cars on the road is considered a traffic jam, did not prepare me adequately for driving in the big, wide world.

I moved to Provo, Utah when I was 18. For two years, I went without a car until my Dad worried himself so much about my safety, that he bought a car. Then I was initiated into the war zone that is 1-15. For some reason, there is a lot of agression on the roads of Utah. I always felt a lot of animosity toward and from other drivers. I also worried about getting hit on purpose. Even when I visit Utah, driving makes me very tense and I start thinking swear words.

When we moved to Sweden, we didn’t have a car for a very long time. We finally bought an old red saab. Driving in Sweden is very proper. The drivers pay strict attention to the rules and road. This can be attributed to the way Swedes abide by laws.

Our short stay in Israel convinced us that if we were to die there, it wouldn’t be because of a suicide bomber, but rather because of the insane driving. When we rented a car, the dealers never checked the car for any scratches or dings. The key to driving in Israel was stand your ground and maintain quick reflexes.

I can’t really say that sitting in traffic for hours and hours from Germany to Paris is really driving. But it was certainly long and boring. However, driving in the circle around the Arc d’triumf (sp??) was violent. Good thing we the Great White Beast to plow through.

I actually like driving in New York. People drive fast and expect you to keep up with the traffic. But they are surprisingly courteous. They’ll usually let you in a spot on a busy road if you inch your way out. Even driving in NYC isn’t too bad, if you are willing to stand up for yourself!

What do you think of driving in your area? Do you like it? Or is it too crazy?

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I recently read an interview of one of my favorite people: Christina from http://handsfullmom.blogspot.com And, in a fit of insanity, I asked to be interviewed. Here are her questions and my answers. If you want to play along, read the instructions at the bottom of the post.

 1.  After five years in Sweden, you’ve been in the States for about a year.  What do you miss most about Sweden?

It is really hard to believe that I’ve been back in the U.S. for a year. I’m still adjusting. I had no idea it would be so difficult to adjust back to life in my home country. I deeply miss the friends I made in Sweden. In so many ways, we were very vunerable as foreigners and being so far from family. Therefore, when we were in need, we had to reach out to our friends. They came through in such magnficent ways. They gave us rides, watched our children so we could go to the temple, gave us blessings, fed us, and loved us. I also really miss the charm of the city of Lund. All the buildings are really old and developers haven’t been hit by the crazy urge to tear down and build new. Rather, they’ve adapted the old buildings. Sweden really has a knack for blending the past with a very modern future. I miss the bike paths and my beloved pink bicycle. (My body really misses the exercise.) I also miss pear drinks, pear chocolate, meatballs, crisp bread, Swedish cheese and the chocolate.

2. What are your favorite things about Swedish culture?  Least favorite things?

I love that Swedes feel connected to their ancestry. When we visited people, they could still tell us about grandparents, cousins, uncles, etc. who had emigrated to America. Do most Americans ever think about the people their ancestors left behind? I love that most Swedes sing beautifully, even when drunk.(We lived in student housing and there are parties nearly every Friday and Saturday. This means that you hear a lot of singing drunks.) I also really appreciate the way Swedes value friendship, nature, and good technology.

The single thing that drives me crazy and infuriates me about Sweden are the rigid cultural rules that are very difficult to understand for foreigners. But even worse is the lack of tolerance that Swedes have for foreigners who break those unwritten rules. I understand every culture has its unwritten rules. But to outsiders, those rules don’t always make sense. Explaining patiently the rule is a much better way to help foreigners understand than rudeness.

3. If you could go back in time and leave a note for yourself when you were expecting your first child, what would you say?  What advice would you have for a younger version of yourself?

Dear Self,

Don’t lose your confidence about parenting. You’re doing just fine. Enjoy the moments when you hold your baby in your arms. It’s okay if all you do in the day is nurse your baby. There will come a time when you long for such a quiet day.

Love, Me

4. If you could pick one or two things to change about yourself, what would they be?

Procrastinating and being argumentative: my life would be much better if I conquered those two weaknesses

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?  In ten?

In five years I hope to see myself with a great routine at home, where my kids really pitch in at home and are developing in great ways. I see myself continuing to learn in many different ways. I also hope that I will have visited new places.

In ten years, I hope to have another degree in something. I’d like to see my oldest ready for a mission. I hope that I’ll have a handle on parenting teens. I hope by then I’ll have taken that trip to Greece that I’ve been longing for.

(Gosh, that was a hard question. Ever since having children, I’ve really struggled with setting goals and making plans for the future. I’m not completely satisfied with my answer, but I think it is a good stepping point for me.)


And here’s the instructions to add to your post:


Do you want to play along and get interviewed too?
Here’s the directions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me,” along with your email address if I don’t have it (or a link to your blog where I can post a comment with questions).
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Feel free to leave a comment even if you’d rather not be interviewed yourself — I love comments!

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First five

First Five Gimme Gimme 

 The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! my choice. for you. this offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

 1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!

2. what I create will be just for you.

3. it’ll be done this year. {translation: you may be waiting a little while}

4. you have no clue what it’s going to be … it may be cards, a poem, a bookmark, something yummy or a complete surprise to you (and me!) … who knows? not you, that’s for sure!

5. i reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

6. most importantly, you must offer the same deal on your blog – the first 5 people to comment on your blog (or if you do not have a blog, facebook) get something made by YOU! the first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me …

Those were the rules as copied exactly from the Greek Goddess‘ blog. She added an idea. If you’re not the kind of person that wants to make something tangible for others, how about some kind of service for them, any type, any size?

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On surprises

I know many of my friends like surprises. My husband adores surprises. I really, really, really dislike surprises. Those months of waiting to find out if Brooke was a girl or boy were torture to me. I cried everytime we went to an ultrasound and they couldn’t identify her gender because she kept her legs daintily shut.  The stress of not knowing was horrible. It made me feel anxious and nervous ALL the time. When the nurse finally could see that Brooke was a girl, I felt such relief.

 I can’t even wait to read the ending of a book. When the last Harry Potter book came out, I went into a store, and read the ending. In fact, I typically start a book, read a few pages and then skip to the end. I am sure you are all appalled now. But here’s the thing, it is terribly stressful to me to not know how something ends or what to expect. If I read the ending first, I have the whole story to accept what happened. The only books that I don’t read the endings first are mysteries.

Gifts are the same way for me. I don’t enjoy the wait of giving or even receiving. If  you are going to give me a surprise gift, don’t even let me know about it until you actually give it to me, because the waiting will drive me crazy. If I buy a gift or make something for someone I love, I can’t wait to give it to them. I can’t wait to see the expression on their face.

Tell me how you feel about surprises and why you do or don’t like them.

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‘Tis the season for love–at least according the grocery store offerings of flowers, chocolate and helium balloons. Since I haven’t really been exposed to helium love balloons in a while, I was surprised at my strong anti-balloon feelings. I think they are tacky and ugly.

But I am a sucker for flowers from my husband. And I never turn down good chocolate. But when my husband brings me books or beautiful paper, I swoon. I have been known to cry after coming home to a spotlessly clean kitchen courtesy of my husband.

What makes you feel loved?

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