Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

Tonight I met with my classics book club to discuss Pride and Prejudice.  (I love having an excuse to ignore dishes sitting in the sink and read all afternoon, which is what I did two days in a row in order to get this book done!)  This was a familiar story as I had read the book previously and had watched every movie based on this book at least twice. The appeal of this story is that its characters, tension, wit and humor never grow old. 

I instantly sympathized with Elizabeth who is a lively and intelligent, yet flawed soul.  While Elizabeth's mother wants to see all of her daughters married to wealthy men, Elizabeth is more interested in living authentically.  She loves people for who they are, not for what their status in life is.  She wants happiness for herself and her sister Jane.  She wants to be judged on her own merits, and not based on her embarrassing family members or her social status and wealth, or lack thereof.  

There are many obstacles standing in her way--her family, the social customs and mores of society, and her own prejudices and quick-to-judge temperament.  Elizabeth remains true to herself and, in the end, gets the man of course.  

Honestly, I think that if all of the people in Pride and Prejudice had been gainfully employed, not even half of the drama would have happened.  That's what you get when you sit around all day and stew over things and have time to write all those long letters.  

We talked about whether Charlotte Lucas was right to marry Mr. Collins, whether Mr. Bennett was a good husband/father, whether people change over time or essentially remain as they always were, and whether it is acceptable to intervene and tell a friend when you think they are making a big mistake romantically.  We also talked about the reaction of the family (and society) to Lydia running off with Wickham and whether we would want our daughter marrying such a man if we were in that situation (personally, I would say NO!). All in all, it was a good discussion.  

One complaint I have is that the book ends too happily to be realistic.  Perhaps Austen made all her books end with such perfection and happiness so that she could live vicariously through her heroines, as there was no fairytale ending in her own life.  

So far we have read Don Quixote, Pilgrim's Progress, Gulliver's Travels, and now Pride and Prejudice.  Oliver Twist is next.  After that only 26 books to go before we are done with the novels' genre in Bauer's book!  By the time my kids are in high school, maybe I will feel that I have a handle on classic literature!  My fingers are crossed.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Red Barm Farms

The kids have been asking to go to a real farm so we were thrilled when our homeschool group had a field trip to Red Barn Farms in Greencastle, Indiana. The family that owned this scenic, working farm were so relaxed about the kids handling (and even carrying!) the animals! It was a fun fall day.















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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Personal Goals

Lately I have been having that urge to run.  Maybe it is because summer is over.  The pool is closed and swimming has been my main source of exercise these past four months.  Fall is in the air.  Along with the splendor of the season comes the dread of being cooped up more.  I want to run!

Last spring I walked 15-minute miles in a mini-marathon.  A friend who ran in the same marathon encouraged me to try the Couch-to-5K running plan.  Another friend on Facebook has been doing C25K.  That was enough motivation for me to give it a try.  I am getting tired of just wanting to be a runner and being inspired by all my friends who are runners.  I would like to join that community.  Have you noticed that people who run are generally happy people?  

Today was day four of my C25K experiment.  So far day three was the hardest for me.  Each day had been harder than the one before until today.  On day two I was sore from using all the new muscles on day one.  On day three I wanted to die by the end of the 20 minutes.  But that's just it.  It's only 20 minutes three days a week!  Anyone should be able to do that, right?  Today a mysterious thing happened.  Towards the end of the walking periods of the program, I was anxious to start running again.  I was ready to run!  It felt exhilarating.  

The biggest challenge of running for me is not the sore muscles.  I can deal with sore muscles.  The reason I have given up on running before is that after a certain point my lungs feel like they are on fire.  The C25K plan is appealing because of the rest periods that give my lungs a chance to recuperate and build up their tolerance.  

On day three, Kevin and I had a little spat.  He is a litigation attorney and so his job ebbs and flows in its busyness.  Mostly it seems that it flows.  He had been working late and getting up early to go to work.  He had set his alarm for 4:30 in the morning.  I had set mine for 5:30 so that I could get up and run before he left.  (A treadmill would probably save our marriage, right?  We need to invest in one!)  I think I actually said something like, "I just can't have any personal goals since I have small children!" or something ridiculous like that.  Finally we compromised and I set the alarm for 5:00, with the intention to take a nap later in the day, and told him I would be home by 5:30.    

There have been many times where I remember how disciplined I was during law school.  I worked full time and often studied all night.  Doing all that was a cake walk compared to being a stay at home mom.  Raising small children is the hardest thing I have ever done.  But no matter how tired I am, I want to translate that same determination to other goals, including physical fitness.  I don't want to be afraid of doing hard things.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blurry Disney

Yes, these are blurry phone pictures but we did have some precious memories watching the kids explore Disney for a day, and introducing Clara to Disney for the first time. They are such sweet ages right now. We were surprised that Clara was tall enough to go on every ride but one (Indiana Jones) and even more surprised that she wanted to go on all the big rides. She was so brave!




Ariel was the sweetest princess we met that day.

Vacation IV

I talked Kevin into leaving the beach for a day and we went up to Lake Arrowhead in the mountains for some hiking.

A resemblance, don't you think?




Here is something I wish we had in Indiana!! Yum.

A morning at Crystal Cove beach ...


Really great breakfast place right on the beach.

More Sand Castle Fun:

My dad got a bounce house for Labor Day--the kids were thrilled!

Our little Sophia had a run in with the playground equipment. It wasn't as bad as it looks!

Two of my sisters:

We miss Rubio's Fish Tacos and their fresh salsa bar. So we had to get our fix before leaving!!

Sophia warmed up to the waves and the last day we went to the beach she did NOT want to leave!

Vacation III

Whale watching was the most fun thing we did all week! We loved being out on the wide open sea and chasing after the blow spouts. Whenever we would spot the spray, the captain would pick up speed and take us to search for whales. We saw numerous blue whales and two different dolphin pods and other wildlife. It was quite the adventure!

Seeing the spray in the distance:

A closeup of a whale:


A blurry picture of a whale fluke.

The dolphins were awesome!


Vacation II

At one point during our stay, I overheard myself telling the kids, "Make sure to eat ALL of your fruit loops BEFORE you eat your doughnut!" Feeding the kids lots of sugar is a grandparent's prerogative, right? I'm sure I will do it too someday! :)

After eating fish tacos at Sharkeez in Manahttan Beach, we walked along the strand. California roses are the best, most biggest, most fragrant roses. It was a beautiful day and one of my favorites!


A day in Long Beach ... my hometown:



The famous hat shop in Long Beach. Don't quote me but I think it's the largest hat shop west of the Mississippi: