Thursday, May 16, 2013


It has become obvious to me, myself, and I that this blog is not inspiring me as much as I thought it would. Mainly, I read too much to go into great detail about any book I have digested- at least, in order to spare boredom, I keep it minimal. Not to mention that there is always something else going on in the real world that refuses to step aside.

I need suggestions, I guess. I feel that adding silly, completely off-topic anecdotes about my personal life is just not spicy enough. Possibly because I try not to go into great detail about that either... sigh...

I am going on a very important trip tomorrow through Sunday. I do this twice a year, skip a couple of times that kept me. This little excursion of mine will be to a place called Winter Park, which is about as beautiful Colorado-isque as you can get. Lots of skiing, snowboarding, playing in snow, snow this, snow that, etc etc etc. Haha, no. I will no be partaking in any of the mentioned activitites. I go to Winter Park for something MUCH MUCH more fun- scrapbooking. with the girls. for the entire weekend. No boys, no kids, no chores (eh, barely any), no alarm clocks... basically, the perfect weekend. I always bring up at least a couple of projects to work on. This spring will include stuff to make my daughter's birthday party invitations (she's going Outer Space this year) and a project I will not mention atm (its a surprise).

I have decided that I am going to show my creative side a little by sharing with all y'all a hobby that I actually turn in to something to be proud of. Every year, I make the invitations for my girls' birthday parties along with as much of their party decor as possible. I have made flamingoes, bees, dinosaurs, pirates, and more. I am also lucky to have a creative family that likes to help, too. Here is a picture of my amazing cousin's flamingo pinata:
And here is an equally stunning picture of a homemade cake made by my gorgeous sister-ish friend:
We have played Pin the Stinger on the Bee:

I LOVE being so involved in the girls' birthdays. There is never anything generic or dull. They give me a theme about a month ahead of time and I execute to the best of my abilities.
So, anyway, what I am getting at here is that I am going to make things spicy this weekend. Instead of writing about Time Longa' Dan Twine, I am going to show off a little with my creative gene.
I am, btw, 165 pages into this fabulous book, though. I don't want to sell it short of the awesomeness that it deserves. It is a great read; the language flows and the book is actually a collection of short essays done by the author so it keeps you interested by not staying on the same subject for long periods of time.
It also makes me a little antsy to get back to this:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The REAL Castro

Hi, remember me? I know, I have been a bad blog writter lately. Here is why:

1. I got a job! I am going to be a guide for historical tours in Fort Collins with the Magis Bus Tours. I am super excited about it, it is a great way for me to learn some more Colorado history.

2. My oldest daughter, Anya, was in the Special Olympics today. She won 2nd place in a walking race and a wheelchair race and she won 1st place in a throwing competition. Here are some pictures of her being amazing!

Not only was she awesome, but the entire elementary school was just as cool:
The entire 1st Grade came, all wearing their t-shirts supporting Anya and her best buddy Logan in their races. We were the best organized, most enthusiastically supported group there. We caught the eye of the Greeley Tribune and there will be an entire Sunday article, section even, talking about Anya, Logan, Milliken Elementary, and our stellar community.
3. Turns out that the reason I have been so tired lately is that I am expecting my third child!
We are due in December, which is great... especially because our youngest is a December baby and of course there is Christmas. (That was meant to be a little sarcastic.) However, we are super excited and now I have an excuse to want to sleep instead of read. lol
Anyway, back to Cuba and Castro. This is my first post about The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro even though I am actually already done! Yes, it is true, I enjoyed the series of letters so much that I read it all, introduction and epilogue included. I do have to admit that there is still more in the book, but it is the letters written in Spanish. Even though I am able to read and speak Spanish fairly well, I decided to pass on re-reading everything I had already read.
These letters are specifically from Castro's time spent in the Isle of Pines in 1954-55 after the Moncada Assault. Most of them do not have much in them to help me further my increasing interest into Castro and Cuba. I only dog-eared 10 pages.
So, I decided to learn more about this man whom I had been taught to hate all my life. This is a perfect example of the type of history that the United States chooses to use to promote our ideological beliefs and to demonize those that go against us. There is much more to Castro than I had ever known, which basically boiled down to nothing more than a cruel dictator. I highly suggest you read up on him if you don't already know a more rounded biography. I know that this short book has sparked my interest in such a way that I am now searching for a more thorough historical book on Cuba.
In the meantime, I have started another book. Time Longa' Dan Twine is by Arnold R. Highfield (you have to pronounce it "Time Longer Than Twine" in a Carribean accent). I bought it in 2011 when we were in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. It is a complete history of the Carribean Islands, focusing on St. Croix. I am loving it already and it makes me yearn to head back to paradise where this is what I woke up to every morning...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Heated Dog-Ears

I don't want to say that it was a waste of my time reading the appendix of critiques in The Heat Is On, it really isn't that I wasted my time... it is more that the entire context of the last 40 pages were WAY above my head. I do not suggest reading this particular appendix for others like myself who are no where near fluent in scientific methodology.

Over all, I am glad that I read/finished The Heat Is On. It was outdated but still important- just as a pro-civil rights pamphlet from the 1950s might be. It is always good to rediscover arguments/debates that are now in hind sight. At least for me, it is.

So time for the dog ears! I had quite a few in this book and am actually going to write a little synopsis of why I tagged each one and what I found out from further research.

pg. 34-Toxic Sludge is Good For You  by John Stauber. I want to add this to my list of books to read. It is a hit on the public relations industry (PRI).

pg. 36- The Greening of Planet Earth is a video (the link takes you to YouTube) narrated by the skeptic Sherwood Idso. At the time of publishing, Gelbspan names Idso as a main skeptic of global warming. In my recent research, I have found that not only is he still a proud supporter of CO2 (sorry don't know how to make that look right) but he now has his sons, Keith and Craig on board. Here is a more current example of their work with the Marshall Institute.

pg. 45- The Heated Debate by Robert Balling. The link actually takes you to an article written for an Arizona Publication, but I found what I was looking for, which is where he stands in more modern times on the issue.

pg. 49- Richard Linzden is an interesting character who I am going to look more into. Yes, this is a link to wikipedia. No, I don't believe using this site is always inappropriate, but rather a good starting point for further research in many instances.

pg. 90- ICCP (International Climate Change Partnership). Good thing this acronym was not used frequently, as it would have confused me continuously with the IPCC (International Panel of Climate Control). These groups are not the same! Although Gelbspan does not seem too fond of the former, it did and still does believe industry is the answer to promoting greener energy. I can't see this as a bad thing...

pg. 109- AOSIS (Alliance of Smalle Island States). I wanted to see how much this group has grown, and it sppears that it is a force growing stronger and stronger.

pg. 153- Dr. Henry Kendall. I have mentioned this man in the previous post, he is the 1990 Nobel Prize winner for physics who marks the death of democracy as eminent. Unfortunately, I have learned that he passed away in 1999 (while scuba diving- if you're gonna go, might as well do it right). RIP Dr. Kendall. I am still enamored with learning more about him, and thus I will!

pg. 165- Norman Myers. I have to include a nice little prediction by this man, coninciding with some of Kendalls' predictions of democratic collapse. "The United States, like any open society, is vulnerable to terrorism. A significant surge in terrorism is the likeliest result of the desperation that is overtaking many people in evironmentally disrupted coutries. ' The World Trade Center was easy,' Norman Myers says. 'The next time a nuclear device is set off, it most likely will not be by a government. It will probably be set off by some group of people who are so frustrated at being consigned to desperation that they will be driven to potentially outrageous acts of terrorism.'" Well, well, well... this has been the newest trend in terrorism since the 1990s, hasn't it?

pg. 175- The Beak of the Finch by Johnathon Weiner. REALLY want to read this book, which talks about Darwin's theory of evolution by referring to the change of finch populations on the Galapagos Island Daphne Major due to a catastrophic El Nino season (1982-83).

pg. 198- Dr. Patrick Michaels is a constant punching bag for Gelbspan. He is still a well-known skeptic and I do plan on reading his books.

These were not the only dog-ears of the book, but they were the most significant. I know this was a long post. Hopefully it wasn't boring...

On another note, I have already begun my next book. The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro will bring me into Cuban revolution, a topic I am not familiar with at all. I am already enjoying it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Heat IS On

The high today at my house reached 86 F. In less than 24 hours, we are expecting some more snow. By the time it is done, they are predicting up to 9 inches. Insert emoticon of your choice, I am going to choose one that would suggest an obsence thought.

We don't have air conditioning. And our house faces west. We are in the sun all day. It reached 87 inside the house.

It made me think. About The Heat Is On, obviously. The "threat" of global warming that Gelbspan warns of is no longer, it is on us. The concensus in fossil fuel industries, government, society, and new technology is that we need to find alternate energy uses. In Milliken, where I live, Vestas blades on train cars pass through almost weekly. Last night, my husband was watching Shark Tank and there was a man looking for help expanding his technology that he presented as a kinetic-fueled charger for a cell phone, but that would eventually lead to ocean wave generators that would power, essentially, the world. Huge plans, basically. He was not given any offers, which was disheartening, but the point is that this is what inventors and businesses, even individuals, are looking for.

I have basically finished The Heat Is On, but I am one to read all those "boring" parts; in this case, that is the appendix which consists of Scientific Critiques over the skeptics mentioned. I will try not to get too carried away with my over-all analysis on the book. In fact, I have been avoiding writing in this blog for that reason (I finished the main section of the book 3 days ago). But, I do want to keep in the habit of writing.

That being said, I do want to approach one of the last topics addressed by Gelbspan. With the aide of Dr. Henry Kendall (1990 Nobel Prize for physics), along with other experts, the entire chapter entitled "The Coming Permanent State of Emergency", focuses on the collapse of democracy. The theory is that there is no way a democratic global community can exist much longer with the developing countries being supressed as they are along with the increasing shortage of goods. This is a topic I have studied before and that I feel deserves some attention. One book that comes to mind that would be a good recommendation from me to you would be AntiSystemic Movements. It was written at around the same time as The Heat Is On, but it has much more meat on this topic.

I am not including any new pictures on this blog post. This is mainly because I have not uploaded new ones that I want to use. Also because that damn real world is beckoning me once again... and it is a bit of an urgent matter...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Even though the weather is against the season right now, I can't help but feel some of that spring cleaning urge. And since I can't do much to help the outside of my house right now, that means being a little over obsessive with interior cleaning/rearranging. Tomorrow I will tackle the girls' play room which means that they will be parting with some toys. Is it wrong I do this while they are at school?

I told you that story to get to this one: since I have been busy cleaning, I am not as far as I would like to be in The Heat Is On. At page 86, I think I am about 1/3 of the way. I have to admit, I am not as entertained by Gelbspan in this book as I was in The Boiling Point. I have not lost faith that there will be some interesting context, though. I might have a bit of reserve, due to the publication date, but I am not meaning to put it down the way I did with The Religious Case Against Belief.

You are probably wondering why I am bothering with a post; in all honesty, I just want to stay in the habit of writting. Therefore, this will be a very short post.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures in the last post, here are a few more:

My Father-In-Law and how Australians celebrate Christmas. (Dandenong, Australia 2007)

My first experience driving "backwards". (Australia 2007)

After Christmas brunch, it's time for some backyard cricket. (Australia 2007)

Point Udall, the Eastern most point of the United States (St. Croix, USVI May 2011)
A gorgeous church in downtown St. Christiansted (St. Croix 2011)

Columbus Landing, where Christopher Columbus first landed when he reached the Caribbean (St. Croix May 2011)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Bourbon & Pepsi Kind Of Night

I don't drink except on the weekends. But when you don't have a job, every day is the weekend, right? I'm not saying it is okay to get loaded, but right now, it is absolutely fine for me to be on my second drink. Every once in a while, you don't really need an excuse, right?

I have NO idea as to why, but I have had no energy this weekend. Therefore, I am not as far in The Heat Is On as I would like to be. So far, I have made it to page 69. I have probably dog-earred at least 1/3 of those pages. Yes, I have mentioned and warned about the publication date of this book; so why would I dog-ear so many pages? Almost every single one of these have been related to a name or a publication that I want to research in modern times to compare/contrast.

It is very important to keep yourself up-to-date with the who, what, when, where, and why. In this topic specifically, there is bound to be information that has turned face. I want to check out some of these notes SO bad so far, but I am going to really try to wait until the end of the book to do so. This is for two reasons: 1. I want to be able to summarize/update every important fact at once; and 2. I need to teach myself a little self control. This is harder for me than you may realize. The amount of times I want to look up Pat Michaels, Robert Balling, Richard Lindzen, and others is a little obsessive...

This weekend has been eventful with my precious nephew and nieces' birthday parties. There is a sense of accomplishment in being that "parent" generation. Between my sister and I, there are 5 youngster; 4 of those are 8, 6, 6, 5, and 4. Then you add the cousin's which are 7 and 5. When the year is done, there will be a 13 year old (poor Kaden is the odd one out)... and 8, 7, 7, 6, 5, and 5. This makes for an absolutely fantastic holiday season!!

I would love for someone to let me know what kind of pictures are appropriate on a blog such as mine; please do not be shy. I mean, do you want pics of the book? Pics of my personal life? Or what? It isn't like my gorgeous sister who blogs fashion, and therefore has plenty of appropriate pictures.

Since I am not positive on what the solution may be, and since I have TONS of family pics... here are some more of this crazy, wild family...
My sister, at her wedding

My husband and I in our engagement photos

Emma and Anya

My Brotha!
My slow computer is going to be a poo-head, so here are a few so far...

Friday, April 19, 2013

I Wish It Weren't True...

...but I have not read a single page in The Heat Is On today. Wait, before you judge, I do have a little bit of weight to add to my side. Last night, I had to take my husband to the E.R. once again. We have been married for 7 1/2 years and, let me tell you, when he instant messaged me last night and said to get someone to watch the girls cause we needed to go, I knew that I needed to do exactly that.

Tit for Tat, eh? My wonderful husband spent the entire day today helping me hone my resume and apply for a couple of dream jobs! What are best friends for?

Now, here is the somewhat unpleasant factor in this whole scene. I have very few friends (this is not the factor, lol), but I do have one friend who has been there for me this last year like nothing I have ever experienced before. She came over right away to help. Since we didn't get back until late, she even put up with sleeping in the extra bed that Emma decided she needed to hog. After I came home this afternoon from picking up Anya, my husband pulled me aside. She had just recieved news that her birth mom had passed away. from Facebook. Not cool!

I am horrible, absolutely horrible in these kind of situations. I do not know what to say, to do, to even think! This person has been a true friend to me and I do not know how to be there for her at this moment. I don't know how to take away the pain.

My gorgeous Mum (mother-in-law) passed away nearly three years ago now. I still don't know how to deal with my own emotions, let alone take care of my husband's!

Okay, we are here to talk about books... let's get down to business, huh? Although I have not read today, I am on page 43, which is in Chapter 3. Here is the thing, though, and I said it just the other day- the book was written in 1997. SO much has happened in relation to global warming since then. The "debate" over it all is not even a debate any longer; we have come to a concensus that this is an event actually happening.

I do hope I get to read a bit more tonight. Though, I just got a call from the precious niece I can't say no to, asking if she could spend the night. Of course!!! The more the merrier! Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Obama's Bitchslap to Congress

I know, I know. I am supposed to be trying not to add political, religious, or other taboo subjects into such a blog that is meant to be about reading fantastic written pieces, but I am going to. Here is the thing- you might as well get used to it. If you are not knowledgeable about these sore subjects then you are part of the problem. Sorry... king of.

Listening to the President's Address over the Gun Control Legislature that failed in Congress made me proud of him. No, I am not one of those sappy Obama Mammas, nor am I against him. I did not vote for him in the last election (Gary Johnson was my choice).

I do not care where you stand on the political spectrum; it is not obvious to you that Congress has become the bitterest battleground over political agenda then you may need to do a bit more research.

Here is what was amazing about the speech by Obama: he reprimanded Congress for having been against the American public, their constituents; 90% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans were for these tougher laws that had nothing to do with trampling on 2nd Ammendment Rights. Obama bitchslapped those self-interested politicians who are in charge of this country's progress. I have never seen anything like it, since I have followed politics (remember I am only 30).

THIS IS WHY AMERICA WILL NOT CONTINUE TO PROSPER! We fight with ourselves over liberal/conservative agendas and refuse to work together when it matters the most.

Okay... I think I am done... sorry, but it is time to work together instead of against each other. It is time to turn away from the 2-tiered party system here.

Now I really am done. I am only 16 pages into The Heat Is On, and the first 14 of those were the introduction! One of the biggest things that someone researching should always remember is to check the copyright date of whatever they are reading. A couple of years between copyright and you reading it can be tremendous at times.

The Heat Is On was published in 1997. This was 16 years ago. Global Warming Theory has come a long way since then. It is crucial to keep that in mind when reading anything of this type of book.

Enough of my soapboxing now. I am going to wish everyone a  wonderful evening. Good night!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Craving More...

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this post if you do not want to know intimate details about The Brothers Karamazov. Not that I am going to disclose too much info, but there will be some facts only known if you have gotten to the end of the book.

Obviously, I have finished The Brothers Karamazov. I have to make a few honest statements right away: 1. I feel cheated at the end, 2. I pat myself on the back for some of my instincts, and 3. I am going on a quest to read every Dostoyevsky novel now. I have read only two other Russian authors, Turgenev and Chekhov. I loved both of these pieces, fyi. In fact, Fathers and Sons has become one of my favorite novels of all time. I highly recommend it.

I knew Katerina Ivanovna was going to be important! I also had a feeling about the old Captain Snegiryov. Although, I was overall satisfied with Dostoyevsky's novel, I am guilty to admit that the ending was curt. Yes, most of us book lovers get that hangover after a book that keeps us from grasping that there is nothing more to read. But, considering how long it took to build up to the climax and get through the climax, the ending was unfulfilling. Once again, I mean no disrespect to Dostoyevsky, I mean to compliment him by saying "I want more!".

The process of the trial was splendid; I couldn't help feeling ignorant that such a democratic process could happen in 19th century Russia (under tsarism). It also helped me to believe in the importance of rhetorics. Never underestimate the power of ethos, pathos, and logos my friends!

If it is not obvious, I am trying very hard not to write anything too conclusive towards the outcome of the novel. This blog is NOT meant to be a spoiler, assist with term papers, or aide a lazy person to feel like they have an upper hand. I want to find others who have read some of these books, or in the process of reading them, (maybe even persuade the book to be read). There is something refreshing about finding others who have shared the same experience as you through literature.

Something I plan on doing with every single book I read is listing the "dog-ears". These are pages I have marked (dog-earred) for myself to return to- some are inquiries into other literature, some are fantastic quotes, and some are important events. There are other reasons as well that I mark a page. I want to share those pages with you- not the significance of them, for that is an individual thing, but just to give followers an idea as to what I find important/interesting.

Here are the Dog-Ears for The Brothers Karamazov:


If I had anything to say to those who have not read The Brothers Karamazov yet, it would be to NOT read the Introduction beforehand. I usually do not suggest this, in fact I usually recommend reading any preludes, introductions, note from authors, or epilogues. However, in this praticular edition (introduction by Marc Slonim, Modern Library College Edition 1950), reading Slonim's thoughts are the biggest spoiler you can have in this book. Can't say it will be the same for all editions...

Because my daughters did an amazing job cleaning, I gave them the priviledge of choosing the next book for me to read. Yes, my children get awarded with this kind of weird stuff, they thoroughly enjoy it as weird as it is. The book they chose was The Heat is On by Ross Gelbspan. I have previously been introduced to Gelspan's work at a course at UNC. I am looking forward to this book, which will be about global warming in the modern times.

Have a wonderful night everyone!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Featuring the Unsinkable Molly Brown

Today is the 101st anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. This is a very popular historical event and therefore, I want to take a moment to venture away from The Brothers Karamazov and do that thing I do- get my dorky historical pants on. Trust, this will happen frequently... I find many historical events to be significant; in line with my fellow historians.

We all know the story... the "Unsinkable" Titanic hit an iceberg; there were not enough lifeboats/jackets; "women and children first"... I am sure most of us know the hollywood storyline between Jack Dawson and Rose whatever-her-last-name-is.

But how many of you know about Molly Brown? I truly hope more than a few... she was a colorful character who is even materialized in Hollywood's "Titanic". Yes, the most of that plotline was not completely accurate (as in the main plot of the two lovers), yet they did recreate quite a few well-known facts. Gotta love Hollywood, eh?

I mention Molly Brown for one reason only. Of course, a few other anecdotes stream from this main one, but for the main part, Molly Brown had a huge impact on my childhood. My wonderful Grandma was a history buff just like me (she died eight years ago) and through all the amazing things she taught me, Molly Brown stands front and center.

As you may know, I live in Colorado. Though Molly Brown was not born in Denver, she resided there before and after the sinking of the Titanic. The house she lived in still stands as a museum that my sister and our children visit often. I encourage anyone that lives close enough or plans on traveling to Denver to go there and hear her amazing story of sudden wealth and flamboyant personality (my favorite). The interior has this gold and blood red theme that just screams at you from everywhere you turn, and the authenticity of all the tour is fun (maybe not on a hot summer day with 4 young children, though).

Speaking of that precious memory, here is a few picture of that trip:


Here is my sister and her children- Brielle, Conner, and Kaden- and my only daughter at the time, Anya (this was 2008).

And here is a little better of a shot of the four children- Brielle, Conner, Anya, and Kaden
More on the last of The Brothers Karamazov later. I am, as of this moment, on page 880 and hope that I can finish it before tomorrow's posting! Have a fun spring night that is hopefully not as winterish as Colorado's right now (we have about 8 inches of snow and falling).

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mi and Yu

Okay... I tried SO hard to not post again until I had finished the book but considering that it is a 940 page book and I have to deal with this damn real-world, I have to bow my head in defeat again. I dedicated basically the entire weekend (as in free time) to reading and I am still only on page 758. Yes, this is quite a jump from the last post, yet it is not my final. I am going to refuse to speak much about the unfolding plot as of now, though because we are at crucial timing for sudden diversions and topsy-turvy findings. All I can say is that the only reason that The Brothers Karamazov still holds a bookmark has nothing to do with my lack of interest, but rather chores, children, hurt husbands, etc etc.

As anyone who knows me for a few minutes can confirm, I love animals. I especially love big dogs and little lizards. Yesterday, we introduced two new members into the Wild family (yes this really is my last name). After much deliberation towards names- including Abe and Mary, Mitya and Katya, Jack and Sally, Elvis and Priscilla, as well as Yin and Yang and Hong Se and Ping Gua- the names of our new Horned Mountain Dragons ended up being Mi and Yu (pronounced Me and You- congrats to the hubbie for coming up with it from this funny movie scene).

Here are some pictures of these gorgeous creatures!

 This is Yu, the female

This is Mi, the male

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Go Listen to "Never Too Late" by Three Days Grace. No Seriously, Go...

... the reason that I say that is because that is the song I am listening to right now while I write. I enjoy writing while music plays in the background. In fact, music is essential in my life; I cook, clean, work, eat, write, etc while listening to music. I do recommend the Pandora channel I am listening to right now. It is Volbeat Radio and I am rocking out to it!

I had planned on visiting my sister yesterday and seeing if she could help me with the pics, but it did not happen. So, the good news is that she is going to help me... bad news is that it will not be today.

Unfortunately, I have not finished The Brothers Karamazov yet, either. It has been a more hectic day than I had anticipated. I am on page 486 and Dmitri is trying to get his pawned guns back from Pyotr Ilyitch. I really want to write more about this when I finish the book, though.

Instead, I want to focus on the chapter that was dedicated to Grushenka. As I was reading her conversation with Alyosha and Rakitin, I was able to get a much better grasp on who she is... before I had read too far into her, I thought that perhaps, just perhaps, she had been trying to "save" Katerina when she had openly humiliated her (I talked about it in this post). No, indeed she had never offered anything more than an onion to a beggar as she claims. That was an interesting little anecdote in itself.

I am right at the climax, I sense. I know I keep saying that, Dostoyevsky sure loves to stretch his plotlines. I am not complaining though, I just keep feeling it is going to start coming together and am surprised each time that Dostoyevsky branches off on to hone in on something/someone important. Perhaps I just need to stop being so easy to fool lol!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Alas, I Am Only Halfway There

I had high expectations for myself when I wrote yesterday that I thought I would be able to finish The Brothers Karamazov. And, though I am impressed with how far along I am, I have a long way to go. Mind you, this novel is 940 pages long. As of right now, I am at page 412.

However! The entire section that I had just read in the last 24 hours-ish has been difficult for me to get into as much as I would like to. Not that I mean any offense to the wonderful, talented Dostoyevsky and his brilliance in including 47 pages of biographical on Father Zossima. There were some great themes expressed and just because it is overtly Christian and I am Agnostic does not mean that I did not enjoy reading those.

Like I had mentioned in the last post, suspense and I- we are not very good friends. Therefore, hats off to Dostoyevsky for keeping the reader in suspense again and postponing the climax! I am actually into Part Three which is entitled "Alyosha"... I think that we might be getting back in to the meat of things now lol. Perhaps I need just one more day and I really can succeed!

The day has not been a total loss so far in my goals, though. I have succeeded in quite a few chores; one of which included taking my SS Card so that I can begin substitute teaching for the school district. As of right now, I am not allowed to sub for anything that would normally require a B.A., but with only 3 semesters left, I am going to stay positive!

I thought that I would share some Russian artwork since I don't have any appropriate photos, but I am not sure how I can do that. So... if there ends up not being artwork this post, leave it with me for at least another day to add it- my sister can probably help me with that if I cannot figure it out.

Hope everyone is having a warm Spring day as I sit here in the crazy climate of "snowing with the sun out", "drop 55 degrees in hours", "gonna be in the high 50s tomorrow and warming for the rest of week" Colorado.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Cannot Help It... I Think I Have A New Addiction

I knew that being without a job was going to affect this blog...

I am on page 341. This book is very seductive. lol. I mean, it gets me in the mood to read it quite easily. I haven't read a fiction novel for recreational reasons since I was a teenager... like a young teenager. I think probably around 14-15. However, before then, I was a bookworm! I remember going to friends' houses and sneaking in a read whenever I could. Sometimes that would happen blatantly in front of my best of friends! No wonder I didn't have any friends as a kid...

Anyway. Colorado is in the news today with the dramatic drop in temperatures (like 50 degrees F within hours). Thus, it is a snow day for my daughters (which means a lazy day for me, too). They are having a "Land Before Time" Marathon and I am reading. After all:

Some ECards quote

I really feel like I am getting to the climax of this book. Between Alyosha rushing back to the monastery, no contact with Dmitri, Ivan leaving to Moscow, Smerdyakov's epileptic fit, the dad being left alone, Father Zossima's final moments (I am here right now), there is definitely a change in the speed in which the plot is unfolding. I am not sure I can handle the suspense! You may be lol-ing that, but anyone who knows me also knows that I do indeed loathe suspense.

I actually want to continue reading and probably will for a majority of the day so tomorrow's update (yea, I am starting to get into the rhythm of this) could conclude this fabulous novel and begin a new book... whether or not I pick another fiction work is kind of up in the air right now, I am enjoying it so much! I do have some great non-fictions I can't wait to dive into either, though.

Do many of you who enjoy non-fiction also enjoy fiction? I do not know very many people who enjoy the same genres as me, but I don't think I'm that weird... am I?

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Love Story

If I knew how to put a song on here without it automatically playing, I would chose "Love Story" by Taylor Swift. Mainly because it is the first song to pop in my head now that I am 280 pages into The Brothers Karamazov. I didn't anticipate it to be such a love story, but I guess that is one characteristic of what many consider a great novel. Not that I am disagreeing with that!

Alyosha has become my favorite character by far, as I suppose he is for many which would be why he is the main protagonist. Dmitri disguts me, I am sure I am not the only one. There were two great sections that I have just read that I wanted to share with everyone.

When Alyosha goes to meet with the Captain Nikolay Ilyitch Snergiryov, I could not put the book down or ever turn away to listen to anything else. I could picture the entire scene! The old Captain's character was genuinely unfolded and made complete sense to me so that I come to respect the author evenmoreso. I do not yet if this character is going to be of much importance throughout the rest of the novel, but Dostoyevsky made him very much real for me.

Further along, the part I just finished where Alyosha and Ivan meet in the restaurant captivated me, too. I want to write some of the beautiful wording right now:

Ivan: "There was an old sinner in the eighteenth century who declared that, if there were no God, he would have to be invented...and man has actually invented God... if God exists and if He really did create the world, then as we all know, He created it according to the geometry of Euclid and the human mind with the conception of only three dimensions in space... there have been and still are geometricians and philosophers... who dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid can never meet on earth, may meet somewhere in infinity. I have come to the conclusion that, since I can't understand even that, I can't expect to understand about God." (279).

This statement made by him could very well be something I would articulate if I had the ability to put my thoughts into words so smoothly.

Oh, and here are the first pictures for the blog! They are of some of the treasures I bought from the thrift store on my last day. Hopefully they actually work. If not, my sister will know what to do! lol
A neat decanter that kind of looks like an hour-glass.

This plate set is pink, gold, white and vintage!

Chokin is an ancient Japanese method of engraving that uses silver and gold. It was created to decorate Samurai warriors.

He is made out of newspaper!!

This is a handpainted vase made from Aspen wood

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Times They Are A Changing

Well, I have not read any further in The Brothers Karmazov, yet I am still going to write a post. Why, you ask? Well, because there is some news that affects me and all my loved ones- I no longer have a job. The wonderful, awesome, spectacular thrift store that I have been working at is closing... tomorrow... I just found out about an hour before I left work today.

So, you know what that means? I decided to go ahead and get all that stuff I have been hoarding to buy "one day". That's right, today I brought home (among other things) The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, The Atheist Debater's Handbook by B.C. Johnson, Under the Influence by James R. Milam, Ph.D. and Katherine Ketcham, Forgive and Forget by Lewis B. Smedes, The Passions of the Mind by Irving Stone, Clemenceau and the Third Republic by J. Hampden Jackson, and I Ching by Zhao Xiaomin (translated by Martin Palmer and Jay Ramsay). I also got some goodies that might be of interest to my kind of people. The coolest, by far, is an old man that is made out of newspaper. There were some other cool items, like a decorative plate commemorating Lewis and Clark. Nothing too special, but all things that have held my interest since I first processed them. This includes 10 scrapbooks!

I am going to actually take some pictures of these things and post them on here, but the majority of them are taking a bath in the dishwasher right now lol.

I am looking forward to reading more about those brothers tonight though and will update everyone soon! Have a wonderful evening!

Friday, April 5, 2013

And Just Like That...!

Page 193... this is the beginning of Part II. We have just witnessed an interesting ineraction between Alyosha, Katerina, and Grushenka- mainly the latter two. I can't help but think just how completely taboo a conversation like this would be in our society/era. Grushenka basically bitch-slapped Katerina (pardon the language, it will happen more often than not).

Imagine that same conversation, fitted to an American 2013 model. Can you imagine something like this happening?! In all honesty, this is some of the most intriguing disparities between the genres of written work. I have mentioned before that I read way more non-fiction than fiction, so maybe I am especially sensitive, but wow! I would love to here what others think!

In other news, I found I Ching at work yesterday and have added it to my "pile" of books that could possibly go home with me in a distant paycheck... I am fairly certain that I do not own it already. Is that bad? Not knowing if you own such a significant book? Sigh, book lovers we are.

I don't know how much people will care to see pictures on this blog- it is kind of hard to find appropriate ones that aren't a book cover or such. But, nonetheless, I am thinking about finding some cool pictures to add. Yea or Nah?

Hope everyone has another gorgeous Spring day!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Sense Katerina Ivanovna Might Be Significant

I know, you are reading that post title and probably saying "Duh." just as I did with A Religious Case Against Belief... obviously her name keeps popping up everywhere and no doubt Dmitri is bringing Alyosha in to some pretty messed up stuff!

Oh, I guess I should mention that as of right now, I am on page 154. This is when Alyosha has just arrived at his father's house and the servant Smerdyakov is talking about the possible impossibility of recanting Christ to save your life. Oh my, how I would have loved to be a part of that conversation, I have much to say about it.

Anyway, Katerina is just jumping off the page at me, every time I read about her. Even before this messed up bit with Dmitri, I knew she must be special. What says you, eh?

On a completely relevant and off-handed note... I love the name Katya! If I ever had a choice in a third daughter's name, I would probably pick it. It means "pure", which is a great attribute to have in my eyes. My first-born daughter has a Russian name as well. Anya means "gracious" and let me tell you something, she is very much that! Just as much as Emma, my second-born is "industrious" (I take it to mean intense, lol). Do you think that it is important to name your child something with a fitting meaning to who you want them to become?

Today has been beautiful and the entire time I have read has been outside. I hope everyone else has had such a chance (if they want, that is). Spring is such a gorgeous end to Winter!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's Getting Interesting

Yup, I am much further in The Brothers Karamazov than the previous book. At page 132, it is starting to get interesting. Right now, Dmitri and Alyosha are having an interesting conversation that I think holds great significance. I am not going to disclose what I had already read in the Introduction and Note From the Author- I am going to say, however, that if you do not want the entire plot spoiled that you should avoid reading them. I did not have this forwarning and did as I usually do, read all the pre-storyline chapters.

I still think that reading these parts of any book can be very useful. It is wonderful to get an idea of who the author is, where they are coming from, why the book was written, and above all perhaps, the credibility. I read a lot of non-fiction so this is why it is so critical for me. I don't want to look like a fool! lol. Also, you can get a lot more ideas of where to research through doing this.

Today is also my nephew, Conner's birthday. He is such a cool dude, he loves to read, too! I wish I could see him when the girls and I go down to my sister's later this evening (she is going to help me get the blog set up properly!), but he is with his father. I hope he is having a wonderful birthday regardless, I am sure he is! I know what he will be getting from his Auntie, though... books! Just gotta find out which ones are hip for the kiddos these days. ANy ideas/suggestions? He is going to be 8.

Hope everyone has a wonderful evening and I will check back in sooner than later with some more on The Brothers Karamazov.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Russian Attitude

I hope everybody had a fabulous Easter! Our's was just fine, aside from a couple little annoyances. Just read my sister's blog, lol! I really wanted to write yesterday and talk about some sort of historical fact about Easter. However, I decided against that. No need to start bringing up politics and religion again, lol.

What is weird is the slap in my face each year that I am not the younger generation anymore. This year was especially strange because of the lack of children who wanted to/were there to participate. My daughters were the only ones. My nephew, Kaden, is way too cool for that stuff now.

Anyway, I have made good on my predicition that The Brothers Karamazov would captivate my attention way more than the previous, unfinished book. 70 pages in and I am further in like 3 days than I ever even got with The Religious Case. Yes, I know that they are quite different by every characteristic plausible, but I am still going to be happy with my choice to switch books.

I would not be surprised if most people reading this book would have felt a little bored by the first chapter in which Dostoyevsky is obviously helping the reader to get know the characters. This is a quality of a rich storyline, I think, thus it did not bore me... confuse me a couple of times, yes, but not bore!

I am reading now about the meeting with the Elder Father Zossima and the only reason I have stopped is because that damn-real world kickes in again. The dialogue is so smooth and just full of emotion and even a sort of mini-climax at each one.

I know that my blog so far is... let's say, lacking in some basic functions. I have my sister helping me with that.

Enjoy your April Fools Day...whichever theory of origin you believe it to come from!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"I Survived" and an Easter

I wasn't going to write today being that tomorrow is Easter and I didn't think that I would have time/energy/interest but as I was cleaning the house for guests tomorrow, I was inspired.

The only time I really watch t.v. is when- 1. my husband is watching something and I want to be near him; or 2. I am doing some chore that lets me multitask. Today, the second option came up. I was folding laundry and so I put on one of my favorite prerecorded shows, "I Survived". Has anyone seen this show before? As much of a scaredy-cat as I am, something about this show captivates me.

The episode was on a specific hostage situation in Bogota, Colombia. Three Americans (two interviewed) were working with the American and Colombian governments to extract information on the drug cartel going down. This is specifically interesting to me because the book I had just finished reading, My Colombian War, is very much a part of this fight. The FARC had taken these hostages for nearly 6 years! It was an amazing story of survival and not just because of the connection I was able to make. I thought, therefore, that I would pass this information on to my followers. lol, I have none as of yet... but I am going to stay positive thinking that there are other people out there who like this kind of stuff.

Because I do not know exactly how to link a site to this blog, and also because I am not sure if a link would even exist, I am going to have to hope that you are able to find the episode. (I am going to try, but am about 99.99% sure I will fail regardless.)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter. I know, the agnostic celebrating Easter seems a little absurd, but it is not the religious connection that draws me in. Rather it is the family time that comes from it all. I do not discount the biblical history of Easter, I do believe Jesus existed and that this time of the year holds great significance for the Christian religion.

Before I get too involved in talking about something I am very much a minority for/against, I will reiterate my blessings to have a wonderful Easter and a beautiful Spring-like week!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Already not writing every day... lol. But. BUT. The reason is more that I am kind of blahing this book right now. The name of it is The Religious Case Against Belief and it is by James P. Carse.

So far I have read 59 pages in 2-3 days... that says a lot first off because I can usually read that much in an afternoon. It isn't so much that the book is "religious" (Christian-sided, I feel). I have no problem reading religious books as long as they are good (I have been agnostic/atheistic since I was a child) It is that in the 59 pages that I have read so far, the author has basically said the same thing over and over. And over. And over... What he repeats is his entire thesis- why belief isn't the same as religion. He uses examples from the French Revolution, the American Civil War, Martin Luther (heavily), and other well-known eras that help prove his case. However, it is the same conclusion each time. Martin Luther's abjuration, for instance, is used to illustrate how if Luther and Charles V had vocalized that both were equally capable of where/whom to place papal authority, then perhaps the entire Protestant/Catholic schism could have been avoided.

Um... duh... I'm sorry, I am not 1. Christian; 2. an expert in this area of history; But, seriously. Yes, we can all make a pretty safe hypothesis that the "belief" of who holds papal authority was the key point here. Period. Yes, it was that particular belief and yes, every other person (CHristian/Buddhist/Maoist/etc) is capable of coming to a different conclusion. Basically, I keep waiting on the punchline, but it is the same ancedote in different shoes every time.

So instead, I am going to write about how my 4 year old daughter has already picked out my next book for me to read. Can you believe that she chose The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky?! That's my girl! Perhaps more shocking is that I haven't actually read it yet.

Thus, I am going to dive into Russian mid-19th century and back to some history that I am more familiar with! I have a feeling I will be much further than 59 pages by tomorrow to write again.

Maybe one day I will pick up The Religious Case again...

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Hi. This is my first blog entry and thus, it is a bit awkward. I guess the most useful subject to talk about would be just my self... not sure if I want to do that, but okay:

I turn 30 years old in a couple of months; I have 2 daughters, a husband, and a life in Northern Colorado. My passions include reading, writing, and learning (not exclusively). Per suggestion of my amazing sister, FranniePantz I have decided that I want to venture forth into this crazy globalized world. Sorry, I am not a fashionista like my sister, but I do read some great books and I love to learn (and teach). I thought this would be boring to the majority of bloggers, but my sister truly thinks I might find some people into the same stuff I am, so I am gonna give it a go!

My New's Year's Resolution this year (I know, haha no one keeps those), is to read at least 3 books every month. So far, I have been okay with this mission; unfortunatley, this month though, I have 8 days left and have just started my second book today. I want to write about the books I read, the history behind them (I rarely read fiction, and even then there is always history there, too), and I want to encourage myself along the way.

So far this year, I have read a handful of good books; An Infinity of Mirrors, My Colombian War, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria 1919-1920, Alone with the Devil, Close Range: Wyoming Stories, and Ghandi's Way to God. I have currently started reading The Religious Case Against Belief.

My favorite so far has been An Infinity of Mirrors, which is a historical fiction written in the 1960s by Richard Condon. It takes place in Nazi-infused Europe, specificlly Germany and France. It is a love story, perhaps, but most importantly, it is enriched with details of life during this tremendous era of history. The book was so good, that I even wrote an email to my history professor/chair department head/advisor at University of Northern Colorado to recommend it to her. I hope she reads it and likes it as much as I did.

The last book I read is a biography by Silvana Paternostro, My Colombian War. This is another fabulous read; Paternostro is a talented writer, painting a vivid picture of her life torn between the developing country of her birth and that of a NYC journalist.

So, I think I am going to write as I read in these books. Instead of going back and reviewing these last ones I have mentioned, I will start at my current read, The Religious Case Against Belief. Here is the thing: I have three bookcases full of books I have bought/acquired that I continue to add to... I have some major catching up to do before I will allow myself to acquire more. That being said, though, I work at a thrift store. in processing. I am the first person to see anything that comes into the store; I find lots of treasures and that most definitely includes books. I may or may not already have a small stack of books that I have set aside to get with my next paycheck...

My sister writes in her blog pretty much every day. I mean, she might miss a day or two here and there, but she is committed. I am gonna just go for a "one day at a time" deal here. Surely, though, I am not the only one who enjoys reading books that I learn from.

Therefore, in the words of Paule von Rhode, "Franz! Set to!" Time to get reading!