Monday, January 25, 2010

7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I remember reading this book when I was in 9th grade and absolutely loving it.  But I remembered so little about the story.  Of course, I knew Jane Eyre was a penniless governess who falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester, and he with her.  I remember the mysterious happenings on the third floor of the mansion and even the fire.  But that was it.  When I started reading this book again, it opened with the story of Jane as a ten-year-old being mistreated by her aunts and cousins.  Was I even reading the same story?  She went to a boarding school?  She ran away from Mr. Rochester after learning that he had a wife?  I thought she learned that at the time of the fire.  Where did these cousins come in?  Wow, isn't it amazing the things you can forget over forty years' time?  Since I have never seen movies made from the book, it was almost like experiencing it for the first time.  Which was pretty neat.  What can I say?  It's a great story, a great romance, and Jane Eyre is a great character.  I love how strong she is (except for when under the thrall of her cousin, St. John.  He was creepy.) She had such moral conviction and deep passion.  I love that neither she nor Mr. Rochester were good-looking, but were attracted to the better qualities of the other, and maybe even some of the faults.  The story captured me.  True, I found the dialogue to be stilted and silly; but probably true to the time the book was written.  It sure took a long time to say anything, didn't it?  But the book is a classic, and I can certainly understand why?  I should try to not wait another forty years to read it again.  Here's a quote I picked out from many good ones:
"We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most often when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence.  I had risen to my knees to pray for Mr. Rochester.  Looking up, I, with tear-dimmed eyes, saw the mighty Milky-Way.  Remembering what it was -- what countless systems there swept space like a soft trace of light -- I felt the might and strength of God."
The book is filled with some great thoughts on Diety, right and wrong, morality versus immortality, even religious over-zealousness.  Good lessons that don't feel preachy because the story is so enthralling.  If you want to read a classic, I recommend this one.
Rating:  4.5

I realized that I posted this review on the wrong post.  If you want to see my other book reviews, please visit Framed and Booked.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Favorite Time of Day

"What is your favorite time of day? Are you a morning or a night person? Has this changed over the years?"

I love sunrises and sunsets, with a little leaning towards sunsets.  That could be because I am usually either sleeping when the sun comes up or busy getting ready for work.  I have lived in my house for over thirty years and I can't count the times I've sat on the front porch watching the sun go down.  Until three or four years ago, the field across the street from me was empty, giving me an unblocked view to the west and the mountains that circle the Ashley Valley.  Vernal has had some pretty spectacular sunsets during those years. 

Some evenings in the fall and spring, I would watch huge flocks of birds as they dart across the sky.  It's amazing how synchronized they are as they all suddenly change direction.  Sometimes, hundreds would be perched in this locust tree in my front yard and on the electrical wires by the road.  

I would have to say that I am both a morning and night person.  I prefer those times to the middle of the day.  There's a softer quality to the light when the sun is lower in the sky and the shadows are more interesting.  Has this changed through the years?  Definitely.  When I was a teenager, I slept all morning.  Probably never saw a sunrise.  Now that I'm older and my body is running down, I can't sit on the front steps like I used to.  But sometimes I glance out the window and see some pink or orange lights and walk out to see what brilliant note the day is ending on. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Calling

"What???" you say, "Why would you accept a new calling with the chaos that is your life?"  It's so true.  My life is a mess and I'm feeling pretty stressed.  But I have learned that, while I can do very little about the pressures of my job short of having every inhabitant of my town move all their accounts over and thus putting all my competitors out of business (slight exaggeration), I can control my own attitude and what I do with the little time when I actually have some energy to do something.  It's ironic that when I pray for strength to endure my "sore trials and tribulations", the Lord gives me another calling.  Two months ago, I was called to be the ward Family History Consultant.  I was so relieved that I wasn't being called to be a ward missionary, that I almost hugged the bishop.  And yes, the calling was extended two months ago.  Aside from buying some books on writing personal histories and some genealogy help books, I haven't done much except procrastinating the inevitable CLASS.  Two weeks ago, the bishop decided the class should start today and I could give a talk in Sacrament meeting to announce it.  Things just keep getting worse, don't they?  Well, I lived through it.  I used the first lesson in the book for my talk which went pretty well.  I had seven people show up for the class which is about seven more than I expected.  I gave the lesson using the DVD that accompanies it and felt we all had a good discussion which is how I teach.  There were even assignments.  That's right, assignments for Sunday School.  I know so little about Family History but I think I will learn so much from everyone else.  I hope they feel they are getting something out of it.  Anyway, I decided that along with finding our ancestors, we would have a weekly assignment to write a journal entry for our own personal histories.  We picked a topic from the myriads I had available:  "What is your favorite time of day?  Are you a morning or a night person?  Has this changed over the years?"  I will probably post my entries here on my blog so be looking for them.  If you want to join in by writing about the topic of the week, please leave a message with a link to your post so we can visit.  I hope this will be fun.  Some of my class liked the idea.  One brother groaned and said, "I have to write????"  We'll see how it goes.  Did I mention that I am still teaching Relief Society?  Next week, it's Lesson Three for Family History and a conference talk by Elder Oaks for RS.  I'm not feeling the stress letting up a lot yet, but I have a feeling this will all work out for my good. 

Friday, January 01, 2010

December Diary

It's my last journal entry of 2009 and I should really try to be eloquent; but I'm tired and coming off a holiday sugar rush; so we'll just have to see how it goes.

3rd  I drove to Heber with Julie and Todd to attend a manager's meeting.  It was the first time we had met with the managers in our new district and I thought it went well.  I've probably mentioned before that my new boss is very driven and intense, but he's also very funny and has really good ideas to help us meet our goals.  And he's pretty honest about the fact that we are going to have to work our butts off this next year.  (sigh)

5th - 16th  Maddy's son got married on the 11th so she took off all these days to get ready and spend time with visiting family.  Which meant I got to work every day except Sundays.  I was pretty tired to say the least.  Lisa and I drove over to Hidden Springs in Altamont to attend Buck's reception.  What a long drive.  It took over an hour to find the place, but I can understand why people have their receptions there.  It is a beautiful setting.  On the 16th, we had a manager's meeting in Roosevelt to go over strategies for the new year.  Again, very intense.

17th  My high school friend, Ann Stewart, hosted a get-together with a bunch of us from high school.  There were thirteen of us:  Ann, Nikki Sorensen, Gail Sorensen, Rosalie Sorensen (can't remember her married name), Karen Hatch, Benna Bridges (again, married name ???), Cathy Magee, Linnette Rollins, Dahn Caldwell, Julie Brooks, Judy Kurtz, Betsy Magee,  and myself.  We had a blast.  Ann had made the most wonderful food and her home is beautiful.  She is such a good hostess.  We played a game where we all drew a Christmas song and then sang it until we found our partners.  Karen, Rosalie and I had JIngle Bells.  We then perfomed a routine for the song.  We won!!!  You can see why from the picture below. :)

21st - 23rd  I took these days off because Stacey, Jordan and Lincoln came for a pre-Christmas visit.  Lincoln was very excited to see my Christmas tree which was fun.  This was the first time we tried having him sleep in a regular bed.  We put chairs and pillows all around the double bed and he slept just great.  The next morning I had to run into work and to the store.  Just as I was getting ready to leave at 7:30, Lincoln opened the door and walked out of his bedroom.  It was good that I had not left yet as Stacey and Jordan were still asleep.  It's hard to get used to him being so grown up.  Stacey made breakfast when I got home, German oven-puff pancakes, soooo good.  We opened our gifts to each other.  I bought (had Jordan buy for me) Lincoln a keyboard and stand.  It was so fun to watch him play the different beats (actually he seemed to keep to one beat) and sing into the microphone.  What an entertainer.  I have a little caterpillar with 26 legs for the alphabet.  When you push a leg, it plays a different song.  Lincoln would only push the "I" leg and would rock out to "I've Been Working on the Railroad."  And he would not let me play another song and that caterpillar plays some really cute songs.  It was so funny.  Stacey made me a baking dish that had my name engraved on the bottom.  It's so nice to know which pan you brought to the potluck without putting masking tape on it.  In fact, it was such a great gift that I had also made a simlar one for Stacey last summer.  Great minds think alike.  Then they gave me a digital picture frame with a lot of their family photos already on the memory card.  I added some of my own.  Amazing how much time I spend looking at those pictures.  Thanks, Jordan and Stacey.  Earlier, I had bought some alphabet magnets since Lincoln liked lining up the magnetic trains so well at Thanksgiving.  The letters were stuck randomly on the fridge and he proceeded to line them all up.  He would move them from the fridge to the metal trashcan and back but always in a straight line.  I could watch him for hours.  But they had to leave Wednesday afternoon and then Cassie got here that night.

24th  Christmas Eve.  I had to work but we closed at 3:00 so I had time to make pico de gallo and sour cream enchiladas for our family dinner that night.  The enchiladas were really good.  We had so much food at Mom's.  I think it took us four days to eat everything.  Of course, people kept making new stuff like soup and such.  There were lots of people so it was pretty chaotic.  We played the same Christmas song game that I had played with my friends and it turned out fun.  Everyone participated which was surprising but also made it successsful.  Greg read "The Night Before Christmas" and Cheya read the Bible and we sang some carols.  Ahhh, tradition.  Then we opened presents.  This year, Mom made a donation to help Third World familes in our names and that was her gift to all of us.  What a great idea for Christmas.  I got her some software and a book to help her write her life history.  I hope she will spend some time writing down her memories.  I always enjoy when she tells stories from her life.  I also gave her some pictures from our Thanksgiving photo shoot.  Last year, I gave her magnetic board to displays pictures of her family that can be changed when she gets new ones.  So now she has new ones of me and my kids.  Cheya and Myke gave me a WaterPik shower head.  I was a little apprehensive about installing it.  I did have to go to the hardward store to get a small converter pipe but it works just great.  I love it.  I also got an ARC of The Brutal Telling.  Cheya and I are great fans of Louise Penny.  Thanks, Myke and Cheya. 

25th  Christmas Day.  No getting up early for Cassie and I.  I don't think we ate breakfast until noon and then opened presents.  Or was it the other way around?  Whatever, it was nice and slow.  Cassie brought me great things from her travels:  a plaid, cashmere scarf from Scotland, a silver necklace and an Irish Tenors CD from Ireland, and a red coral necklace from Hawaii.  She also gave me some other really neat things.  And then she is going to make me a temple bag.  She had bought the fabric but ran out of time.  The fabric is so pretty.  We took it very easy but eventually made it over to Mom's to eat and play games. 

26th  Cassie and I went to see Sherlock Holmes at the movie theater.  Great movie.  After it was over, we saw that Greg had come also but had sat farther ahead of us.  I can't believe I actually did this, but after the movie, we went to Walmart.  On the day after Christmas!!  It was not too bad and we needed to get the trim for the temple bag.  We settled on a really pretty green color with a gorgeous bling-bling button.  I'm so excited.  More games at Mom's that night.

27th  I gave my lesson in Relief Society and spent my last day in the library.  Now I have to get ready to teach Family History.  I know nothing!  Cassie left to go back to Salt Lake.  Man, it's hard to see her go. 

31st  Mom, Susan, Cheya and I went to lunch at The Red Onion Grill.  It's right next to the Dinosaur Gift Shop so we went in to check out the sale.  I spent too much but bought some fun Christmas items.  Lunch was just okay especially considering that we had to wait so long and the service was pretty bad.  That night we had sloppy joes at Mom's and birthday cake and ice cream.  And played games.  My back was killing me and I developed a bad headache so as soon as I saw that ball drop in Times Square, I headed home to bed. 

Books  I read eleven books this month.  My favorites were The Kite Runner, Forest Born, and Ender's Shadow.  Six of the books were Christmas stories, some very short, which helped get me in the holiday mood.

Movies  On Christmas, Cassie and I watched Julie/Julia which she gave me.  I really liked it.  Meryl Streep is wonderful.  Then we saw Sherlock Holmes which was also a wonderful movie, very fast paced and action-packed.  And funny as well.  It seems like I watched another video but can't remember what it was.

Overall Impression  We got a lot of snow this month which was so pretty at first.  Then it just gets dirty and drab.  It was also very cold.  Most nights dipped below zero.  Brrrrr.  But it was a good month to spend time with the family and enjoy the Christmas spirit.  I love singing carols at church and celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Now if I can just keep that feeling with me throughout the year.  I did make some resolutions.  I have to lose weight or my back is going to become an even bigger problem than it already is.  So I am going to try to eat better and exercise more.  Plus, I am going to read the Old Testament.  And I want to do some writing on my life history to go along with the family history class I will be teaching.  That ought to do it.  Look for updates on my monthly posts.  I may post my life history entries as well, haven't decided yet.  I hope everyone had a great year in 2009 and wish an even better one for 2010.  HAPPY NEW YEAR.