Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Sentinal

September is such a great month. Summer is almost over and there is a nip in the air. At least, there should be, but it's been pretty hot these days. But the nights are cooler. The leaves are starting to turn. I love fall. Here's what I did this month:

Sept 1 thru 8 - I was traveling!!!! YAY This is the week I went on a cruise to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Maine with Cassie and Julie. I did a post on the trip earlier so I won't say any more.

Sept 11 - Lincoln turned one today. I think it should be a national holiday. Because of Lincoln and the World Trade Center attacks. It will always be a memorable day for me. I remember exactly where I was when I first about the towers (sitting in my car before going to work, listening to the radio) and exactly where I was when I heard about Lincoln being born. (shopping in Walmart when Jordan called me on my cell phone.)

Sept 13 - I have not traveled enough this month so I drive back to Salt Lake for Lincoln's birthday party. Stacey had the best pizza for dinner and, of course, we had cake and ice cream. It was fun watching Lincoln with his cousins, Carter and Collin; and another friend, Seneca. Cassie and I represented Jordan's family and Stacey's parents, brother and sister-in-law; sister and friend; and Seneca's friends were all there. It was fun. I think Lincoln's favorite present was a big gift bag that he carried all over the house.

Well, that's about it. The rest of the month I spent reading and watching TV. It took me four weeks to finally get everything unpacked and the luggage put away.

Books Read

The Ride of Our Lives by Mike Leonard. A humorous memoir of a man taking his eighty-year old parents on a trip in an RV.

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley. A classic novel that involves a bookshop, young love and Nazi saboteurs. It was a fun read.

At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie. This was an audio book. I love to listen to those English narrators reading her great mysteries.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman has a odd imagination. This book is geared toward younger readers. The illustrations and prose are creepy and great for the R.I.P Challenge.

Silas Marner by George Eliot. Another classic, I didn't care for this book about a recluse who becomes transformed after a little girl walks into his life.

Saffy's Angel by Hilary Mackay. A cute young adult book, it is the first in a series about a fun but dysfunctional family.

The Monster of Templeton by Lauren Groff. This is another audio book about a fictional version of Cooperstown, New York. It was pretty good, but not great.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. A lot of other blogers really loved this book but I was less impressed. Again good, but not great. I'm anxious to see how Cassie likes it.

The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson. Tristi Pinkston asked me to participate in a blog tour for this book and I jumped right in. I mean, I got a free Christmas book. The cover is beautiful. Stacy is LDS and the book is easily recognizable as Mormon to other Mormons, but the message is pretty non-denominational. It's a little sappy, but I like that in a Christmas book. I like the message and it made me laugh and cry.
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. Published in 1765, this book is considered the first of the gothic genre. I thought it was hilarious, it was so over the top and there were somany stereotypes.
Wow, that's ten books. I also finished five challenges although I have posted on all of them. I joined one that ends on Halloween, reading creepy, gothic and mysterious novels. I've read four but I want to read a couple more. I'm currently reading The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly.
I bought Penelope but haven't watched it yet. I did watch The Great Debaters on DVD. It is a fantastic movie.  I also watched a jackie Chan movie on the flight from DC to Phoenix but I can't remember what it is called.
Dancing with the Stars started on the 22nd. My early favorite is Brooke Burke. Gray's Anatomy also started a new season on the 25th. I swear if Meredith starts second-guessing herself again, I'm going to scream.
Overall Impression
I've always liked September. It's the start of school, high school football games, (just memories, I don't go any more), leaves starting to change and beautiful days. Mmmmm, fall.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The First Birthday

Father & Son at Lincoln's birthday party

I can't believe that Lincoln is a year old. Where did the time go? And his father, Jordan, was born twenty-eight years ago. Yes, time really does fly. I love these two pictures with their bony baby butts. It is amazing how much my grandson looks like his dad did when he was brand new.

Here they are a year later. Obviously, they both like cake. Lincoln looked so much like Jordan when he was first born, but now he doesn't so much. His head is shaped differently. I wish I had some one-year-old pictures of Stacey to add to the comparison. Watching Lincoln at his birthday party, I saw some of his expressions that really reminded me of his dad, but he is definitely starting to look a lot like his mom also. It's pretty fascinating to see the wonder of a baby growing up and taking after each of his parents. I can't even imagine life without him and it's only been a year. A few high points this year is watching Lincoln learning to roll, crawl and now HE WALKS! He's a genius. I don't know if he still does it, but a few months ago, Lincoln trilled and rolled his tongue. He has the cutest expressions which just crack me up. Lincoln doesn't cry a lot but when he does, it's kind of scary. He has this deep growling cry. It's really more funny than scary. And he loves books, what more could I ask for?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Norwegian Dream

What could be a better than a cruise in the Northeast, someone else making your beds and turning them down each night, towel animals on the bed, all the food you could possible eat (and more) lots of rain and fog, and the tail end of a hurricane? Actually, it was a great trip (thanks, Dramamine). We saw some beautiful things and missed others. Laughed a lot, ate a lot, spent a lot of money, spent a lot of time in airports. Yeah, it was great.

Here is a picture of our lovely ship taken from Bar Harbor (Baa Haa Baa). Bar Harbor was our last stop. This is where the cruise balled up. We had to go through immigration before taking a tender to shore. Everyone on board lined up to go through and it took forever. So half our excursion was cancelled, but we still took a bus to the top of Cadillac Mountain where you can see the entire island. At least you could if it wasn't engulfed in fog. Even so this was a fun stop. Bar Harbor is picturesque and the harbor was beautiful when the fog burned off. Julie even got sunburned a couple hours after this picture was taken. There were lots of shops and a village green, just too many people. But that was the case wherever we went . With the exception of Hailfax, these are smaller towns that just got inundated with 1700 people.

Since I've done this completely out of order, maybe I'll go back and do a day-by-day run down.

August 30 - Left Salt Lake at 3:00 after spending the morning with Lincoln. We flew to Phoenix and spent the next five hours in that airport. Next stop - Charlotte, NC. We reached Boston Sunday morning and boarded the ship. (Cassie looks like a movie star, doesn't she?) We were late for a barbecue on the top deck that evening and almost had to beg for food. They were pulling dishes right out from under our grasp. Not a good omen, but the food and service improved vastly as the cruise continued.

September 1 - Landed in St. John, New Brunswick. The best greeting ever. There must have been twenty people handing women from the ship roses and the men got pins. We took a bus ride around the town, stopped at an old market where we bought souvenirs, saw the reverse waterfall (where the Bay of Fundy at high tide meets the river). We rode the bus to St Martin while the guide talked and pointed things out. At St. Martin, Julie and I had really good sea food chowder. Cassie had chicken strips. We walked along the shore and headed back to the ship. I slept a lot during the thirty minute bus ride to St. Martin and back. A lone bag piper in a kilt serenaded the ship as it pulled away from the pier. That was pretty surreal.

September 2 - Our first sea day. I really noticed the motion of the waves here and eventually took medication. Julie did as well but she was also coming down with a nasty cold. Cassie did fine and but bemoaned the fact that the ice cream shack on the top deck was closed because of the rain. We played dice and read. Learned about buying jewelry. Very relaxing.

September 3 - Halifax. This was my favorite stop. We took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the city which worked perfectly for me as we could stay longer at some stops but still have a guide pointing out sites as we rode the bus. We spent time in the Halifax Gardens (beautiful) and ate at a great Italian restaurant. Julie walked back to the ship as she was really unwell while Cassie and I continued on to the Citadel. This fort was built to guard the city from the French but wasn't finished until that threat was gone. Our guide, Corporal Steve, was a cute college kid, again in a kilt. I really enjoyed our time at the Citadel. The views were fantastic and we learned some great history about the city. Our next stop was at the Halifax Maritime Museum where we learned more about the Halifax Explosion. I was really interested in this piece of history after reading Barometer Rising, a novel which includes the tragedy.

September 4 - Coming into Sydney was beautiful, but it was a pretty ordinary town. We took a taxi ride to see the sites and saw a lot of churches and subdivisions. Odd. We did eat lunch at a great restaurant overlooking the bay and met a local walking his Westies. Cute dogs and he was fun to visit with.

September 5 - Another sea day with rain and fog. Julie was really sick this day and spent most of the day in our miniscule state room. I can't remember what Cassie and I did.

September 6 - I've already told you about Bar Harbor. I would love to see this place on a really sunny day.

September 7 - Debarked in Boston and found our way to the airport. This time we flew to DC, Phoenix, and finally Salt Lake. We were exhausted.

Dislikes: Constant motion on the ship. About two days back on land, I started feeling that motion again. Tiny room that was totally dark at night and hot. Not having enough time in the ports to really get a feel for the places, except for Halifax. The comedy show where guests told their supposedly g-rated jokes.

Likes: The food was fantastic. The Chocolate Buffet: tables loaded with different chocolate delicacies and chocolate sculptures. I loved the towel animals and the friendly crew (except those barbecue guys). Friendly townspeople. Great entertainment: The Jean Ryan Troupe of dancers and singers, a fantastic juggler, very funny comedian and so-so jazz singer. Denny, the cruise director, was an odd man but the act he and his team (The Fountains) performed at the crew talent show made us laugh so hard. Spending time with Cassie and Julie was the best.

Would I go on a cruise again? Sure, it is an inexpensive way to travel and the good outweighs the bad. I still prefer road trips because you have more options, but would love an Alaskan cruise, maybe the Mediterranean or even Scandinavia.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

August Archives

This is the month that I spent a lot of money. I ordered a bunch of clothes online to wear on my trip. Most of those got returned. I bought cameras, TV, shoes, and just general stuff. You know, spending money is really fun. But here's a general report of noteworthy happenings.

1st - I attended the bank's Recognition Event in Provo. It was held at the Elk's Lodge and I stayed at the Marriott. I love sleeping in hotels; nice firm bed, lots of channels on the TV, alone time. The event itself was fun. I was late and didn't get to scope out the prizes which really didn't matter in the end. My name was called about halfway through and all the prizes I had been hoping for were gone. But I did select a very nice set of luggage: brown flowery brocade design. Just the thing for cruise. (Stay tuned to learn how it fared on the trip. Details in a future post)

2nd - I got up early which is hard when you're sleeping in a comfy hotel bed and it's Saturday morning, but I needed to get back to Vernal for the Petersen Family Reunion. I made it just in time to say goodby to Uncle Donald and Aunt Eleanor and Cousin Eldon. The rest of the morning and early afternoon were spent mostly playing dice and visiting. It was a nice day with a light breeze cooling things off occasionally. I have a great family and it was fun to spend time with them.

12th - Went visiting teaching. I know this shouldn't be that noteworthy, but it is the first time in eight months that my partner went with me. She is the same age as my daughter but really fun; and we had a good time. She's a busy girl so I'm glad we were able to finally go out together.

13th - Saw the movie "Mama Mia" with my high school friends. If you went to high school in the 70's, I recommend going to this movie with similar age friends. Some of the references were hilarious and the music was great. Except when Pierce Brosnan sang and then it was just hilarious. I was telling someone about it today (a month later) and starting cracking up again. Very entertaining.

30th-31st - Drove to Salt Lake Friday night and stayed at Jordan's. That meant I got to play with Lincoln Saturday morning. We went to a store and Jordan parked in the back seat with the baby. I made mooing noises for him which he loved. He's so cute. I left the car with Jordan and Stacey so they had two cars while I was gone. That afternoon at 3 pm MST, Julie, Cassie and I boarded our plane en route to Boston via Phoenix, AZ and Charlotte, NC. We arrived in Boston at 9 am EST. What a long day and night. Our layover in Phoenix was five hours long!! We took a very expensive taxi ride to the boat and boarded. You'll have to wait for my post about the trip to learn more.

Books - I read or listened to eight books this month:

Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett (audio) - Very funny

The Changeling by Zilpha Keating Snyder - A great young adult book

Niagra: A History of the Falls by Pierre Berton - Non-fiction, read for Canadian challenge. Very informative and interesting.

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer - The last of the Twilight series. The kind of book you can't put down but not my favorite in the series.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - Dare I criticize the great one? I'll just say this was one of my least favorite Austen books.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E L Konigburg - Another great young adult book.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - probably my least favorite read this month.

Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan - Read for the Canadian Challenge and in preparation for my trip to Halifax. It was slow going at first, but the description of the Halifax Explosion was spellbinding.

I joined one challenge, R.I.P Challenge 2008, which is always a good one for the fall. I also finished the Decades, TBR, Heard It Through the Grapevine and the Chunkster Challenges. So I have six challenges to finish before December 31 and one to finish by October 31. That's about sixteen books because I do a lot of cross-challenging, so I think I'm good. Especially since I'm almost finished with one that works for two challenges. I feel like I'm pulling a fast one.

Movies - Mama Mia (see above)

TV - It was all about the Olympics. Why is it that you couldn't pay me to watch rowing but put it on the Olympics and I'm standing and cheering on the Americans? If they're not in the race, I'll find someone else to cheer for. Swimming is still my favorite to watch and what nail biters a couple of those races were. Michael Phelps was so impressive. Less impressive was the joint interview they did with Phelps and Mark Spitz. Wasn't there some obsure sport like badminton that we could have been watching? I like watching gymnastics but got a little frustrated with some of the scoring. I did have a hard time with table tennis because the ball moved so fast I couldn't keep up with it. I admit I didn't watch any wrestling, but was glued to the volleyball matches. Whatever, it was fun.

Overall Impression - It seems like the entire month was a count down to The Trip. And the Olympics, of course.