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Holy cow

I really stink at updating this thing.  I fell into the pattern that happened with my other blogs (like my LiveJournal…remember those days of LJ?).  It became a thing where it was a “oh wow, I should update this thing” but the update became a short paragraph.  I suck.  Life has been busy, which I guess is a good thing.

Wedding update – we’re basically done!  Yay!  Wedding is in 135  days (but who is counting, right?).  It’s exciting and weird at the same time.  Weird to think that in 135 days, I’m going to have a totally different  last name than the one I have been calling myself for the past 28 and a half years, weird to think that I’m going to have a husband, weird to think that I’m going to be living with someone who isn’t a roommate after 7 years of having roommates (between the four years of college and three years of having roommates when I first moved to Portland) and three and a half years of living by myself.  The house  hunt is going.  There is one that we really liked, but we’ll see.  It all comes down to financing.  Don’t want to talk too much about it just in case things don’t go the  way we want them to and we have  our hopes all built up and end up disappointed.  It’s been fun, and a learning process.  Now we’ve started watching HGTV and home search shows, in addition to cooking shows.  We lead a pretty exciting life, what can I say 🙂  Pinterest is going to come in really handy too once we get a house.

As for  cooking, I have cooked a lot of recipes in the time that I haven’t posted.  Do I feel like posting?  Not really.  I need to be better about this though.  I like posting and writing about what I’ve cooked.  It’s a good way for me to think about what I’ve done and what I could do differently.

I also need to start reading more again.  And knitting.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

 

I think that this was a book that either my dad’s brother or my dad’s sister gave me for Christmas.  They tend to always give me books, which isn’t a bad thing.  I haven’t been reading as often as I have been because I’ve been really tired and would rather just read my blogs on my phone and then sleep.  I need to make more time for reading though.  It might make me feel more relaxed.

Ptolemy Grey is a 91 year old African American man who finds out  that his great-nephew, who takes care of him, has been shot.  Another great nephew brings him to where the wake is happening and in the process, steals money from Ptolemy.  Ptolemy is already distrustful of  others, but this tips the scales.  While there, he meets Robyn, a 19 year old who  has been taken in by Ptolemy’s niece.  Robyn ends up becoming the one who helps to take care of Ptolemy and saves his life (in many ways).  Ptolemy ends up taking action for his own life during his “last days” (the title of the book is kind of a give away as to what is going to happen).

The story also alternates between Ptolemy’s present life and his experiences with an older gentleman named Coy Dog when he was younger.  Those experiences helped to shape the later life of Ptolemy and the things he was trying to accomplish in his last  days.  It got to be a little confusing because they kept going back and forth from past to present and Ptolemy was called multiple names in the book.

Overall, a beautifully written book.  Also kind of timely because I finished reading it on Saturday, which was the day that my grandmother passed away.  My grandmother was a remarkable woman who was married to my grandfather for 64 years before he  passed away in 2005.  She was 94 years old and raised four children and had seven grandchildren (including me) and one great-grandchild.  She will be deeply missed.

Her Highness The Traitor


If there is  one thing about me, it is a deep passion for anything that has to do with England, specifically Tudor England.  Why?  I really don’t know.  It may have started when I went to London when I was in 4th grade with my parents  and saw the Tower of London and just continued on from there.  I actually did a biography report on Anne Boleyn when I was in 8th grade (that’s how much of a dork for this era).  Yes, I love The Tudors.  Yes, I know that they took some definite liberties.  Henry VIII was definitely not a sexy sexy man in the 1540s.
This book intrigued  me because although it is the story of Lady Jane Grey,  the 9 days queen, it is told through the eyes of her mother,  Lady Frances Grey, and  her mother-in-law, Lady Jane Dudley.  It took everything we were supposedly taught about how the power players were at the time.  John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, not being portrayed as a power hungry man.  Frances Grey being portrayed as a woman didn’t abuse her daughter and just felt really misunderstood by both her husband and her brilliant beyond her years daughter.  Jane Grey being portrayed as, frankly, kind of a  PITA  and a diva.  Definitely didn’t see that one coming from past portrayals that paint her as a victim.  It was an intriguing read and one that I enjoyed.  This was the first of Susan Higginbotham’s books that I have read and it was very well researched.  She had a lengthy afterward where she explained her research and why she chose to go against the traditional portrayals – and it is the nontraditional that go more  towards the truth.  Of course, the traditional portrayals add drama and help to make Jane Grey seem like more of a victim.  I am not saying that she wasn’t – she was definitely a pawn in a power play to make it so Mary I didn’t become queen – but she was incredibly outspoken.  In real life, she probably was hit a couple of times because she struggled with hiding her true feelings about stuff and did mouth off to elders.  Children are not expected to do that now, and certainly were not then.  It is refreshing though to see a mother who cared about her daughter and was visibly upset when she was condemned to death rather than the cold mother who was unapproachable.  Instead, she was unapproachable because they just didn’t understand one another (which really isn’t that against the norm in most teenage daughter-mother relationships).

Would I recommend this?  Certainly, but probably only if you have an appreciation for Tudor England or else you will be really lost reading this.

Remarkable creatures

I have tended to like Tracy Chevalier books.  She writes excellent historical fiction, and this is no exception.  She researches her subject manner and while she certainly does take some liberties (as do most people who write historical fiction), it makes sense (which sometimes – maybe most of the time – happens with people who write historical fiction).

The idea of two women, in Regency England, becoming known as paleontologists, is amazing.  I think that the title is not only referring to the “creatures” that they discover on the coastal town of Lyme Regis, but to themselves.  It is remarkable that “creatures” (as women could be considered at that time) make all these discoveries – but the men seem to take all the credit for the discovery, even if they were the ones who were sold the fossils and the bones.  Not only were they women, but one (Mary Anning) was an uneducated girl and a teenager when most of these discoveries were made.  What else is remarkable is that Elizabeth Philpot (the other protagonist) who is upper middle class befriended a preteenage girl from a class lower than herself, and who was also seen as an outsider because her family were dissenters (Christians who separated from the Church of England – you were subject to legal discrimination if you were a dissenter).

It is too bad that it took so long for both Elizabeth and Mary to have recognization for their amazing discoveries of fossils that had not been discovered before.  The first time they were mentioned was in 1834 – but had made their first discovery in 1811.  It is thanks to Louis Agassiz that we know the names of these two women who made many important discoveries.  Otherwise, their names would most likely be lost forever.