>> Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Ryan and I are almost done with the bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room addition. Wow, what a job it has been. The finishing touches are proving to be the most time consuming, if that is possible, and patience testing. Ryan and TJ built the new cabinets for our built-in bookshelf today, the molding is waiting to be placed after the carpet guy comes tomorrow, and the tile is happily drying securely to the concrete floor. My mom, TJ, and I painted last week (love it). I'm just beyond stoked to have a finished space that was created by Ryan, the people we love, and I.
The winter break has been amazing, and I'm actually looking forward to returning to work. I'm starting a new unit that was inspired by students. I love how creative I get to be in my job. I'm not sure it gets any better.
Oh wait, it does get better. The baby is growing and growing. We were able to see some glimpses of our little baby a few weeks ago. I just sit and stare at the pictures for way too long dreaming about the myriad directions our lives will take us in four short months.
I will post pictures of the home improvement project on another post very shortly. I can't wait to show off all our hard work. I'm so thankful to have such a handy husband, helpful mother, and great friends to help make our home projects a reality. Yeah for good people!
>> Monday, December 6, 2010
My friend and mentor, Jois, likes to call this time of year "the season to be jolly". Of course she says this in her friendly sarcastic way. I'm starting to agree with her, however, this last weekend was a great kick off to our season full of jolliness. Enter: Our Christmas tree.
The senior boys were selling trees for a fundraiser. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to help out some kids and to make the ordeal of getting a tree very easy. Easy it was. I picked up the tree, Ryan brought it inside, and we had a great time decorating the tree while sharing Christmas memories. We finished our evening by watching A Christmas Story. It's our new tradition. Yeah!
All I need to get is a tree skirt and we'll be set for the holidays. I guess it would be good to get some thoughtful gifts under the tree as well.
>> Sunday, November 28, 2010
|Ryan carving the oven roasted turkey|
|Mom and I baking pies|
>> Monday, November 15, 2010
More to come.
>> Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Fall also means the beginning of school. Unfortunately, I did not get a job. Boo. However, I am all set up to sub, and I feel super lucky to have gotten on the sub list. With all the out of work teachers, it was more difficult than I thought it would be. So, I get to be in the school system/classroom without any planning, grading, or meetings. I can handle that for a year. But only a year. I really wanted to teach right out of the gate.
I have started reading Lolita. It is a tough one to get through. I've been working on it for about two weeks. The subject matter is difficult, but the writing is beautiful. Happy Wednesday!
>> Wednesday, September 1, 2010
My two mentors gifted me a subscription after I borrowed several, 40, of their archived issues. I just love it. I want to spread my joy to you. Visit their website and subscribe to their ad free fantastic magazine.
I used the magazine as a teaching tool with the juniors as well. It was a powerful week of exploring various "Readers Write" sections and having the students create their own stories based on one-word themes.
Love it, love it, love it.
>> Friday, August 20, 2010
This dress is from the Paris collection. I need it. Enjoy window shopping!
>> Thursday, August 19, 2010
Amy and I met up at Portland City Grill for happy hour and book talk. We got started right away while gazing out at the beauty of the great northwest. We laughed at how we underlined the same lines, come to similar conclusions, and blushed while dissecting the sexual tension this book created. I have not experienced writing this captivating in years. Granted I just finished graduate school, but whatever.
I found this novel to not be disturbing. This may shock some readers due to the second section that is about incest between a brother and a sister. I have two older brothers. One brother is 18 months older than me, and the other is four years older than me. We are all close, but the idea of anything sexual is disturbing beyond words. Yet, when Auster was telling the love story of these two people, I started to forget they were related, much less siblings. The story is more about two people comforting each other while dealing with pain and the reality of life. I am by no means condoning, accepting, or excusing the inappropriate relationship in this novel, but the powerful relationship brings up, and ties together, the themes of the book: morality, relationships, truth, how people cope, and right vs. wrong.
I just bought The New York Trilogy by Auster and can't wait to read it. Below is Amy's wonderful, and much more academic, review of the novel. Enjoy!
I had to take a bit of time to think about this book before I wrote a review. Part of me wants to give it five stars because I felt compelled to read it and not put it down. It was totally a book that sucked me in. It feels autobiographical and confessional, but we'll get to that. The other part of me feels like it only rates a 4/4.5 stars because much of the book could be read as the ultimate male sexual fantasy. First, Walker encounters Margot, who is "a cipher, an utter blank" (28), and he proceeds to have fantastic sex with her for a week, an affair actually, though we are told that Walker is supposedly "a person of deep moral integrity, a pillar of moderation" (41). Or rather, we are told third hand. Born tells Walker that is sources tell him that Walker is such a person. This is a good example of the convolutions in this novel.
What Auster has really done here is create a meditation on authorship. Who wrote these stories? Is Auster James Freeman? (Before you answer that question, read Auster's bio and then read this book. It could be Auster's life: went to Columbia, year in Paris, returned to Columbia, all in the years that book takes place). Did Walker have a torrid, incestuous relationship with his sister or was that just another male sexual fantasy as his sister claims? Freeman openly acknowledges that he fleshed out the third section of the book from fragmentary notes, which adds another level of questions about authorship. As a piece of literature, this book would make an excellent discussion piece for a critical theory class who wanted to delve into all those lovely deconstruction questions about whether the author matters or whether we are just making signs that are interpreted by each reader differently, etc.
Moving on from that morass of twistiness, there are the clear borrowings or nods to Goethe's Faust. Anyone who's read Faust must certainly recognize Mephistopheles in Born. There are all the references to Dante's Inferno and the author Bertran de Born that Walker connects with Born from the start. So already we have this walk, ever deeper into the lacuna coil of what may or may not be Walker's imagination. He seems to know everything. His manipulations always lead to the most wicked places, including murder and affairs. Margot in contrast is called an "angel" (27). Walker says that his family was "blessed with the genes of angels" (78). Interestingly, Auster also creates Walker as a man "born sterile" (86). Why? What was the point of that? One possible suggestion would be that angels are androgynous and incapable of procreation. And Lucifer (Satan/Mephisto) was an angel, which leads me to my thoughts about the title of the book.
There are so many subtle ways that Auster uses the word "invisible" in this book. The first time is in this quote: "vanity-that invisible cauldron of self-regard and ambition that simmers and burns in each one of us" (15). Vanity was Lucifer's sin. He thought he was as good or better than God. Walker similar speaks of his "insufferable human perfection" (78). Then there is the invisibility of the "actual" author. Many of the characters are described as invisible or not quite there (cf. Margot's description above). There is the invisible murderer who may or may not have killed the boy in the park (which may or may not be Born). There is the long dead little brother, who is present but invisible as both Walker and Gwyn celebrate his birthday annually and make up a life for him that he's never lived. Also, there is this quote from Oppen:
Impossible to doubt the world: it can be seen
And because it is irrevocable
It cannot be understood, and I believe that fact is lethal. (182).
In other words, if something is invisible, you can doubt it, as you'll find yourself doing with most of this book. But it's delicious doubt, the kind of doubt that makes you want to turn around and reread the book again (another reason for wanting to give it 5 stars). And these are just a few uses of the idea of invisibility.
Add to this the theme of morality. Auster consistently sets up these situations for his characters where the morality is in a great big grey area. So, in a sense, the morality itself is invisible. It's neither here nor there. When Born stabbed the young man under the bridge, was he right to do so because he was defending himself and Walker or was he a brutal murderer who returned to the park later and stabbed the kid 12 more times for fun? When Walker and Margot have their sex bender, is it an affair, or is it just an interlude between two consenting adults, neither of whom is married and one of whom is at the tail end of a bad relationship? Was Walker's mother at fault for her son's death? Should she have been watching him more closely? Or was it a freak accident caused by the hubris of a willful child? When Walker and Gwyn have their summer of incestuous marriage (or didn't if you choose to believe Gwyn), was it really as sick as we think or were they just taking comfort in the familiar? Is the incest taboo a morality system imposed by Western culture and religion or is it more widely believed (sociologists side with the latter, actually)? SO many morality questions. Too many to list here, but you get the picture.
So, I went ahead and gave it five stars because I liked it so much, was intrigued by it, and I suspect Auster is a genius. You might read it differently and just see it as a string of male fantasies and peregrinations that you have no time for. But really that just proves this experiment for Auster ;) Honestly, I think the director from Memento needs to take this book and make a film out of it. Now THAT would be something to see.
~A. K. Huseby
>> Thursday, August 12, 2010
I blazed through The Color Purple and Invisible. I have decided to not write on my reading experience of the The Color Purple beyond this statement: I started it, took a short hiatus, started it again, and finished it in four hours. It is what it is.
As for Invisible, I can't wait gush. I'm meeting with my other reading half tomorrow to discuss, eat, and discuss some more about this virgin experience with Paul Auster. I can't wait to read more of what he has to offer. I want to sink into my new memory foam mattress topper with an Auster novel immediately. Can you guess how much I enjoyed this novel?
I'm starting another novel today, Half the Sky. It will be a dramatic change from what I have been reading as of late, however, I'm ready for a dose of reality. After reading Auster's Invisible, it's hard to decipher between fact and fiction, reality and the imagination. Ahhh, what a treat summer is.
Happy Wednesday... or is it Thursday?
>> Tuesday, August 3, 2010
How do I start...
I need to read this short and extremely readable novel again in the near future. I feel as though I missed some of the depth this novel secretly holds due to the simplicity of the writing. I'm not saying Coetzee writes simply, but his writing allows the reader to simply and gracefully move across the pages until suddenly the novel is over, the sun is setting, and the reader, me, is terribly hungry.
There are several overarching themes that are personal and deep. I think that is part of my issue with this novel; I need more time to process my thoughts about the topics and themes that are discussed in Disgrace. I also need more time to unpack all the events that took place within the short 220 pages.
As I said before, I need to read it again. This novel is one that should be read with a pen handy. I would also suggest you give yourself time to take notes, to stop and process what is happening, and to dig deep into the metaphors and themes that are thought provoking and eloquently presented.
I am now reading The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I will start reading Invisible by Paul Auster on Friday. Amy, a fellow book enthusiast, and I will be reading Invisible together. I will try to snag her notes on the novel to post as well. Happy Tuesday!
>> Thursday, July 29, 2010
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee is on my nightstand waiting to be read. I can't wait to finish it this weekend. So far it does not disappoint. If all goes as planned, I will have a full review for you on Monday. If you can't wait until then, check out two great reviews here and here.
>> Thursday, July 15, 2010
With my free time, I have started editing our wedding photos (sigh). While browsing through the 1200 pictures, I realized that I have failed to share anything about our honeymoon on this little site. So, here we go. To the left is a photo of me about to go diving on a sunken ship named, The Hilma Hooker. A guy at breakfast had a shirt on that read "I penetrated the Hilma Hooker". I was intrigued. Our surface swim was a bit long, but well worth it. Ryan took several pictures (as always). The ship was sunk on purpose to be used as an artificial reef. Coral reefs are being killed off at a rate that is sickening, but that is not what this post is about. It is about our fantastic trip to Bonaire. Bonaire is considered to be located in South America. Ryan and I are on a quest to dive on all seven continents. We are still unsure if we are going to count Bonaire as S. America. P.S. Bonaire is located off the coast of Venezuela and it's magnificent. Below are some of Ryan's pictures... just in case you don't believe me:-).
I found turtle above at a dive location called, Something Special. Special it was. This turtle was huge! This is the second turtle I have ever seen, and I was super excited. The picture below the turtle is at a shore dive named, Red Slave. Bonaire's main export has always been salt. It still is today. The slaves that did the hard labor lived in huts that were the color of the grade of salt they worked tirelessly to export. The colors of grade were: white, red, blue, and orange. The huts are tiny and face the ocean.
The below image was taken at the beginning of a dive. It is peaceful, a little eerie, and it makes me extremely nostalgic for Bonaire. (To see many more pictures, check out Ryan's link on the upper right side of the page.)
>> Sunday, June 27, 2010
This is what I love in the mornings: a fresh & pipping hot cup of coffee, flowers (grown by me) in a recycled glass milk jar, the porch swing Ryan built with his own two hands, and beautiful sunshine. Looking forward to this inspirational start tomorrow!
>> Thursday, June 24, 2010
I present...the garden! Ryan and I planted our first garden this year. We also built the concrete retaining wall next to the garden this spring. We still need to stain the wall, but I think it's looking pretty good. Ryan is so darn handy! Above is the whole garden and a head of cabbage, to the right is an Asian lily from one of my flower beds, below is about half of our garden, bottom left is our first tomato, and the bottom right shows our blossoming scarlet runner beans. The owl was gift from my mom. I love it.
The sun was out and so were we! I made some ribs, melon salad, and was determined to enjoy my evening with Ryan. Enjoy we did. Ryan took the pictures below as evidence. (Featured:our wedding china, Lucy, and Alley Cat.)
>> Monday, June 21, 2010
People will let you down-they will.
I will let you down. Not intentionally,
but I will.
You may not tell me when I do
You're that kind of person.
I will revel in the way you look at me.
I know you won't always have that contentment
in your eyes, however,
I may loose the ability to see it before it disappears.
>> Tuesday, June 15, 2010
School is winding down. I have finished all my coursework for my certification, and I only have three days of class left. I then present my research (702 project) for my Master's degree. I love the feeling of finishing, but am adjusting to the reality of no longer being a student, sigh, and entering the "real world". I know I will always be a "student", but it will be a change for me.
Also big news, I am going to be an aunt! Ryan's brother and wife are expecting their first child this Christmas. We are so excited!
I have a feeling this year will bring many things to be thankful and excited for. The roller coaster of landing a teaching position continues, however, hopes are high this week. Next week could be a different story.
For now, my thoughts are on my research. I'm discovering the effects of integrating art into an English classroom. So far, so good. The best part: all evidence collected is from the students I taught. I've been gathering surveys, interviews, and examples of their work. This means I get to visit the school. Hopefully, I won't be just a visitor next year:-).
>> Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I'm not one to "discover" great music online. My good friend, Abby, so gracefully accepts the challenge of introducing new music to me. However, I stumbled across this blog complete with this music. LOVING IT! Check it out.
My favorite is "Ride". So soulful and inspiring.
>> Sunday, June 6, 2010
Thursday night was my Friday night, and I was determined to party like in Mexico. I called Ryan and told him to plan for a fiesta for two... he was intrigued. Little did he know I would be in the kitchen for half the night preparing a meal that would be devoured in silence in less that fifteen minuets. This was a good thing.
I would love to knit or paint, but my creativity seems to burst out in my good old 1950's kitchen. I'm always surprised that the oven turns on. Anyway, with all this school work I needed to let loose, open some sangria, and make Frida Kahlo's "Chiles in Walnut Sauce". This recipe calls for 28 ingredients, 11 kitchen gadgets/utensils, and 2.5 hours. Don't be intimidated. This dish is amazing.
I found the recipe in this cookbook:
The end result:
Oh my! I made up some Mexican rice, red beans, and set the table with fresh flowers from the garden. We used our wedding china and enjoyed the fruits of my labor. Below is the recipe. I only made up six chiles for our dinner, so I froze the remainder of the walnut sauce and filling for another time. When that time comes, the process will only include roasting the peppers, making the egg batter, and frying the chiles up.
A few tips:
-Make the walnut sauce first and put it in the fridge while you're fussing with everything else. (You will need extra 1/2 and 1/2)
-Use your food processor, if you have one, for the walnut sauce. (Thanks Dad and Carey)
-Have someone help with the coating, dipping, and frying of the peppers. Chances are the peppers will split a little, and a spatula comes in handy when delicately putting the delicious peppers in the pipping hot corn oil.
-Use corn oil. It's the right thing to do.
-Don't be afraid if the peppers split a little or a lot. They are supposed to be tender. The egg batter will really help hold it all together.
-Read all the directions before you begin.
-Have fun and realize you are creating a dish from Frida Kahlo's recipe box! Simply amazing.
Enjoy and let me know what happens...or doesn't. It's always good to hear feedback.
Chiles in Walnut Sauce:
12 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, and deveined
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon salt
3 pomegranates, seeded
2 pounds ground pork
1 onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves
8 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cups tomato puree
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped
2 peaches, peeled and finely chopped
2 plantains, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup candied citron, finely chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper
2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 cup queso fresco (or feta)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup sherry
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Rinse the chiles and pat them dry. Spoon some of the filling inside each one, being careful not to overstuff. Spread the flour on a plate and turn each chile in the flour to coat lightly. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Beat the egg yolks with the salt. Gently fold the yolks and whites together to make a batter. Dip the chiles into the batter to cover completely.
Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Fry the chiles, one or two at a time, until lightly browned. Drain on brown paper.
The chiles can be served cold or at room temperature. Dip the chiles in the Walnut Sauce until completely covered. Arrange the chiles on a platter. Cover with a little more sauce, if needed. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and sprigs of parsley.
To make the filling, place the pork, quartered onion, and garlic in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside, discarding the onion and garlic.
Heat the butter in a large skillet and saute the chopped onion for about 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomato puree and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the meat, fruit, citron, raisins, almonds, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
To make the Walnut Sauce, puree all the ingredients. If the sauce is too thick, add more half-and-half.
Here's Frida bidding you good luck...at least I imagine she is. Isn't she lovely?
>> Friday, May 21, 2010
Ryan and I successfully planted our first garden yesterday afternoon. We have a great variety of tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, cucumbers, honeydew, and cantaloupe. We also planted some leeks, red onion, and Walla Walla sweet onions. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few important veggies that we will hopefully be enjoying in the near future, but you get the idea. With that said, some of you may be receiving calls to come get some home-grown goodness before it goes bad.
This last weekend Ryan and I went to Hoodsport with the usual suspects from the Yellow House. We had a great time and love time spent with friends in the water and top side. We enjoyed crab, oysters, and shrimp from right out front of the Yellow House caught by us. It was so delicious.
I'm still waiting to hear about a job. Truth is, I'm going crazy. I want a teaching job in the Fall so bad it hurts. I'll continue to be patient and hope for the best. It always seems to work out. The good news is that Ryan and I have succeeded in making the summer a good one already. We have been so busy and productive around the house that we can't seem to stop.
I truly feel so blessed for my family, friends, and all we have. Life is so good.
>> Monday, May 3, 2010
Well, my student teaching experience ended on Thursday. To say the least, I was sad. However, I feel as though I won't be gone long. I meet some colleagues, friends, I will know for years to come. And the students were/are wonderful. Wonderful because they allowed me to be myself, teach them, laugh with them, and learn with them. They also scored major points by coming to a party, in my honor, sponsored by my mentor, Jois.
Jois also took it upon herself to assemble a scrapbook made by the students. Each student, 80 juniors, wrote me a letter and some students attached their pictures as well. One student asked, "Will you remember my face?". Needless to say, I cried. Correction, I bawled. Of course I will remember their faces. I will probably remember more than they would like me to remember. I have so many memories from this last year. I can't think of a better profession for me. Everyday flew by, I enjoyed every second, and I miss it already. What's next? I have six weeks left at the University. I will then be a certified teacher with a Masters degree in Teaching. So close!! I had my first interview on Friday. All things went well. I will just have to wait and see. I feel as though I did my best. That's all you can do:-).
I read The History of Love first. Miranda gave it to me the weekend before student teaching started.I wanted to hug her and hit her at the same time. I had so much to do, but I couldn't stop reading it. I finished it in one day. I have to read it again. It is one of those books that sticks with you. Truly lovely.
The second must have book was given to me by my wonderful mentor, Jois. I didn't know what to expect at all. It was a little difficult to get into at first. I was reading Extreamly Loud while the students were listening/reading to The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas. I found myself laughing out loud. I was so lost in the book I had forgotten where I was. So great. Just so great.
I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I frequently get books as gifts. I love books. Sometimes I think if I had to choose between books and food which would win. Probably books... but only for the first few days.
We did it! It, the wedding, was everything we could have asked for. We laughed, cried, danced the night away, and were thankful for all we have. The night ended at two AM with a bonfire and my feet killing me. We were married outside at Edgefield. We then moved the party inside for dinner, dancing, and all that goes with a reception. The toasts were heartfelt and beautiful. The whole day was beautiful. For those who couldn't make it, you were missed! This first picture above does not show two members of the wedding party, so here they are looking wonderful.
Sorry, that's us:-).
A big thank you to our wonderful wedding party!!
>> Sunday, April 18, 2010
I'm alive! So sorry for my lack of writing. I will be back this week for all the fun updates... or at least some fun updates:-).
>> Saturday, January 30, 2010
As most of you know, I'm student teaching this semester. I then graduate. (Lots of screaming and jumping up and down while the dogs stare at me like I'm crazy.) I'm very excited.
With that excitement comes a little anxiety. Next week is when I'm left all alone to teach 126 little people. I'm going to take it as a good sign that I'm feeling the pressure. I would like to take a moment to give a shout out to my two girlfriends who are the greatest ever: Miranda and Elissa. These two lovely ladies are student teaching as well. I'm not sure what we would do without each other. Well, I know what we would do, but it wouldn't be pretty. Well, I must get back to working on the unit for the Great Gatsby. Wish me luck:-)!
>> Monday, January 25, 2010
I was at Target today buying toilet paper and such when I noticed all the Valentine's cards. So, I wandered over to take a gander. Much to my surprise there was a little old lady who was starring intently at a card. I noticed she had plucked it from the section labeled "Granddaughter". She then turned to me and asked me to to read it. She then asked me if people still give cards. This was much to my amazement, because we were standing between two aisles lined with various cards. However, I thought about her statement for a minute and replied that people still give cards, but only a very special few. This made me sad. I can count on my right hand how many cards I have received in the last year (counting 2009). With that said, I bought a few cards and can't wait to send them. Yes, in the mail. You know, with a stamp.
>> Sunday, January 24, 2010
Yesterday was something of a break through for us with the remodel. First, we wired and installed the two new outdoor lights. Second, we hung MORE drywall. Last, but not least, we hung the new bathroom door. I realize this may all seem less than earth shattering, but I haven't had a proper bathroom door since the accidental fire last year. It's the little things in life, people. (When I say "we" I mostly mean Ryan and Harley).
A special thanks to Harley for his help yesterday!
I also made great headway on this darn poetry unit for the kiddos. I'm thinking I will be done with the planning today. Which is great, because I'll be teaching it VERY soon. Nothing like being prepared.
As for the Book Thief, it was wonderful in every way. I cried, laughed, and wondered about what I would do if I lived in that time, in that place. Thank you, Lynn for gifting it to me:-). Please, please, please put it on your list of books to read. It is worth every second. Not many books are as special as this one.
>> Saturday, January 16, 2010
On this lazy Saturday morning I found two great new blogs. Well, they're new to me:-). You can find them here and here. The lovely photographs and enticing recipes are oh so inspiring. I hope you enjoy! I'm off to address wedding invites...finally.
Oh, I'm also finishing a lesson on poetry for 9th graders. Any suggestions?
Oh, I almost forgot; I'm reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. AMAZING! The narrator is surprisingly charming , the setting is Nazi Germany, and the protagonist is a twelve year old girl who is keeping a dangerous secret. I'll let you know my feelings once I finish. However, I feel this is one of those books you don't want to finish, because that means it's over.