Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Day in the Life - March 22, 2016

I wanted to participate with Trish from Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity on her annual "A Day in the Life" blogger hop again this year. I chose to write about yesterday which was a bit unusual but as I've been looking at my life lately is emblematic of the craziness I keep getting myself involved in.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My parents and my two and three year old nieces spent the night at my house. I have forgotten how often toddlers wake up during the night. I spent a restless night listening to them and worrying that they were too cold.

5:37 am : My mom woke me up because I forgot to put out towels.

6:15 am : The alarm goes off. I nudge Randy to get up and wake Neil up to get ready for school. My parents leave for their doctor appointments in Salt Lake.

6:30 am : My alarm goes off again. I get up and start making breakfast for Neil. He requests Ritz crackers with peanut butter and his usual glass of chocolate milk.

6:51 am : After constant coaxing to get moving; to load his back packs; eat his breakfast; brush his teeth; Neil leaves for school. It's raining like crazy. Good thing he just runs next door to catch a ride to the high school from his friend. I wake up the other kids and tell them to start getting dressed.

7:10 am : I do Lilly and Molly's hair.

7:25 am : Breakfast for everyone, including my nieces who woke up when the other kids went downstairs.

7:40 am : We pray and Amberley leaves to catch her bus to the junior high.

7:45 am : Thomas, Lilly and Molly leave to walk to school. Normally I would shut the door with a great sigh of relief and probably climb back into bed but my nieces are here. I help them get a banana. While the eat, I unload the dishwasher and load it again.

8:00 am : I turn Inside Out on for the girls and hurry upstairs to take a shower. Can I take a shower with two toddlers in the house? I get dressed and do my makeup and hair.

8:45 am : I get my nieces dressed and do their hair. They are very adorable. My mom calls to suggest that instead of driving the girls to Salt Lake to meet them (it's snowing and windy in Salt Lake) that they will meet me farther south and closer to my house. That means I get to hang out with the girls longer. We finish watching the movie.

10:00 am : I load the little girls in my car and am thankful to have the built-in car seats that haven't been used in quite awhile. As we drive over the mountain into the valley, the rain changes to snow. The wind is wild.

10:15 am : I meet my parents in the Walmart parking lot. They get the girls and prepare to drive back to Vernal. I go home.

10:30 am : I get a text that Neil's afternoon tennis match has been rescheduled due to weather and I am so happy.

10:35 am : I get home. My house is cold. I climb into my warm bed intending to read Code Name Verity. I fall asleep.

1:00 pm : I wake up. It was a lovely nap. Rand and I have a Greek salad for lunch.

1:30 pm : I actually read Code Name Verity. It's the pick for book club this month.

2:00 pm : My friend calls. It startles me because she never actually calls. We are marathon texters. She's had an emergency with her daughter and can't get back to town (did I mention that we live in the middle of no where) in time to pick up her son for his dentist appointment. I drive to the school and check him out. We drive over to meet his mom in the grocery store parking lot.

2:30 pm : I get home. Thomas, Lilly and Molly have just gotten home from school. We work on homework and sign field trip permission forms.

4:00 pm : I go get dressed and fix my hair and makeup which is a disaster after my long nap.

4:50 pm : My friend picks me up. We drop off her kids at her mom's house before heading to the junior high to prepare for the caucus meeting.

5:00 pm : Our precinct will meet in the library. We have to rearrange the tables and the chairs to accommodate the crowd we are expecting. We prepare the registration tables. My good friend is the precinct secretary and I have attending trainings with her to help with registration and vote counting.

6:00 pm : People start arriving. We are constantly busy with registration. We quickly exceed our expected numbers of people attending.

7:00 pm : Our caucus meeting starts on time but people are still arriving.

7:30 pm : I help count the votes for the election of Precinct Chair. I am nominated as a State Delegate so I can't help count that vote. I wander the hall because it is so crowded and hot in the library I am wondering what in the world possessed me to wear a sweater. I visit with friends.

8:20 pm : The vote is announced and I am an alternative State Delegate. I am nominated as a County Delegate and win my vote of acclamation because only six people have been nominated for the six positions. Three of my good friends are also elected as County Delegates.

9:00 pm : With record attendance at least double what we have seen in other exciting election cycles, our precinct caucus wraps up.

9:15 pm : I am disappointed in the Presidential Preference vote count. It is expected but I find the result frustrating.

9:30 pm : We clean up from the precinct and go over the registration forms. Send the counts and tallies to the state.

11:00 pm : I get home from the caucus meeting. I didn't eat dinner and am starving. I have a bowlful of cottage cheese and tomatoes. Rand and I vent over our political frustrations.

11:30 pm : I start a batch of laundry.

12:00 am : I'm still on Twitter checking the results of the Utah caucuses and regretting getting political online.

1:00 am : I put the laundry in the dryer. Take out my contacts and brush my teeth. It's time for bed.

Be sure to check out the blog hop on Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity to see how a day in the life looks for a variety of other bloggers. And see what my day looked like last year *here*.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jane Steele - Book Review

The summer I turned fifteen my family packed all our camping gear onto our horses and into our backpacks and hiked in three miles from the truck to camp at Dry Fork Twins in the High Uintah Mountains. It was our yearly tradition but that year I carried a heavy copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte in my backpack. Over the week, we hiked all over the mountain, fished in the lakes and streams and played countless hours of card games. And every afternoon when it rained, I sought shelter in my tent and fell in love with Jane Eyre. (Incidentally, I also packed in my entire Caboodle case full of make up because a horoscope said I would meet the love of my life that week. I didn't even see a single Boy Scout on that camping trip.)

The last time I read Jane Eyre was a few years ago and I fell in love yet again with the Gothic romance between the simple governess and the grisly Mr. Rochester.  Additionally, I am also a huge fan of Lyndsay Faye's novels. Her character Timothy Wilde in The Gods of Gotham series is my second favorite lawman following close after Raylan Givens. So, when I heard that Lyndsay Faye had written an imaginative adaptation of Jane Eyre with a more gutsy heroine and a morbid theme, I was so excited to get my hands on a copy.

Jane Steele is also a fan of the novel Jane Eyre. She's an orphan living with an unkind aunt and a leering teen aged cousin. When he attempts to sexually assault her, she kills him. While her life parallels the life of Jane Eyre in many ways, Jane Steele becomes a different kind of woman who leaves those that torment her or her loved ones dead.

Though perhaps a heavy-handed farcical take on the beloved classic, I loved Jane Steele. It was fun. It was dark and morbid. Jane Steele was a heroine that I could cheer for. Her early years were a closer parallel though she simply takes matters into her own hands when she comes across horrible people. I found this so much fun. Once she meets Mr. Thornton and the story turns towards love, it loses some of that earlier fun. However, I was still completely engaged in Jane Steele's story.

Including the history of the Sikh Wars was fascinating. It did take away from Jane's story but I enjoyed reading more about it. I liked Faye's writing with the classic style. I was thoroughly entertained and amused by this charming novel. Jane Steele is just so much fun.

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye is published by Putnam and released on March 22, 2016. 

**I received a complimentary copy of Jane Steele. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received.**

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Winners of Sisters of Heart and Snow

The winners of a paperback copy of Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway are...

Jessica M

Congratulations! Please contact me by March 25th with your information to claim your prize.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sisters of Heart and Snow Paperback Release Give-Away

In celebration of the paperback release of Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway, I am partnering with the publishers to give away three copies.

I read and reviewed it *here* last year.

"Margaret Dilloway captures the reader's full attention in her newest novel Sisters of Heart and Snow. Though the story of Tomoe is by far the more interesting--stunning and emotional in scope; I also became immersed in rooting for Rachel and Drew. Their childhoods were not easy and because of that they struggle in adulthood. Dilloway writes dramatic, dynamic characters that are likable. She allows them to make mistakes and be less than perfect.  It is easy to empathize with them. Their sister relationship and difficulties are believable as they push each other away and then pull together--simultaneously wounding and strengthening each other." --from my review

Entering to win a copy of this dramatic and entertaining novel is simple. Leave a comment on this post. The contest will be open to entries until Friday, March 18th at 11:59pm MST. The three winners will be chosen randomly and announced on Saturday, March 19th. Open to residents of the US only.

Monday, March 14, 2016

America's First Daughter - Book Review

Once upon a time, I regularly read biographies and histories. I spent weeks devouring every detail of the historic figures' lives and sharing with Randy anything I thought especially interesting or unknown to him (as a history major he seems to know everything). As much as I enjoyed learning more history and about the interesting people, it's been a few years since I found a work to capture my attention. America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie is written as a novel but uses so much research to tell the story of Thomas Jefferson's daughter Martha Patsy Jefferson Randolph.

I haven't spent so much time reading a single book for years. It took me almost two full weeks to read America's First Daughter yet I enjoyed every minute. Beginning with Patsy's childhood as the Jefferson family prepared to flee their home as the British army closed in, the novel takes the reader through the exciting history surrounding the Revolutionary War; Jefferson's time as ambassador in France; his continued time in politics and his retirement told through the eyes of his beloved and trusted daughter. I loved having the opportunity to visit these historic events through the domestic perspective of a woman and his family.

The novel focuses on Patsy and so it is her personality that shines through so clearly. She is a strong and yet conflicted character dealing with such troubling issues and nothing about her life is in any way boring. With the exception of Patsy's husband, most of the other characters are not as richly developed. Using letters and other research, Dray and Kamoie share family details that enrich the understanding of that period of time. There was often so much turmoil. I read the novel while my husband watched the election debates next to me. Listening to the circus that the election has become this year, I found it interesting to read more about the drama and dirty politics that occurred in the election of 1800. So little has changed. Except that we don't fight duels anymore. Perhaps that's just what this election is missing.

Part of me wished that it had been written as a biography so my brain would know just what was supported by research and what was assumptions filling in the gaps. However, there was value to it being a novel. It allowed the authors to delve into the ideas of Jefferson's personal life--though it could be seen as apologetic, it offered sympathy and understanding to a confusing and horrific issue.

The time I spent reading America's First Daughter was valuable and enjoyable. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much. I'm definitely inspired to find another biography soon.

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie was published by William Morrow and released on March 1, 2016.

**I received a complimentary copy of America's First Daughter. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received.**