Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Three Favorite Books of All Time . . . Sort Of

My task (assigned by my book club) is to list my three favorite books of all time. I don’t even think that is truly possible. “Of all time” is not a sufficient criterion from which to pluck three books. Instead, here are my current top twenty favorite books in no particular order within categories:

Favorite Message/Reading Experience

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

Peace Like A River, by Leif Enger

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene

In the Skin of a Lion, by Michael Ondaatje

Favorite to Reread

Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh

Marley & Me, by John Grogan

The Partner, by John Grisham

On the Night of the Seventh Moon, by Victoria Holt

Favorite Story

84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Old School, by Tobias Wolff

Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett

The Complete Stories, by Flannery O’Connor

Favorite Kids/YA

The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg

Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

The Giver, by Lois Duncan

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg

Monday, November 26, 2007

Big A** TV

Pretty, pretty TV. It's a 40" flat panel TV that does a myriad of things I only vaguely comprehend. All I/you really need to know is that it is big and things like grass look really vivid.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Six Random Facts About Me

1. I am missing my right ring finger. There was a tragic accident involving night games and sheet metal when I was twelve. I celebrate “my finger anniversary” every July 5th. This next July 5th will mark the thirteenth anniversary of the event, meaning that I will have lived longer without that finger than with it. (I had an illustrious career as the first chair clarinet in band until the unfortunate accident. The only other repercussions come in playing the piano and typing.)

2. I care about things like the fact that “about” is capitalized in the title of this blog. Now, normally, a preposition is not capitalized in a title or heading, UNLESS it is longer than four letters. Yeah, I know things like that. I, too, like to read books about grammar and writing and literary criticism. My favorite lately is How To Read Books Like a Professor. (Note in the title of that book, “to” is not generally capitalized, but it is part of an infinitive in this case and is therefore capitalized.)

3. My two international adventures so far have been to Canada and Mexico (not counting the Caribbean). The Mexico trip was fun, but it was my mom, my brother, and me (all blonde) and no Spanish. We were a little afraid when we got stopped on a toll road 200 miles into the Mexican jungle without money. The non-English speaking soldiers with machine guns strapped to them weren’t very patient. We also saw a dead man who had been shot in the head lying in the street. It was best when we stayed on the private beach of our hotel in Cancun and ordered guacamole from the cabana boys. As for Canada (British Columbia, Vancouver), it was pretty, but it was dirty and damp. The walking tour my husband and I went on was picturesque until we hit the not-so-picturesque parts of downtown. The botanical gardens were amazing. I wanted to bring back lots of plants (probably to be swiftly killed by my brown thumb), but they don’t let you bring plants across the border.

4. My drink of choice is Dr. Pepper. I will sometimes go years without drinking caffeine, but I will always love Dr. Pepper more than any other drink. Sprite with a lemon will do in a pinch.

5. I love puppies (a term I use for all canines, regardless of age)! I always have. I used to try to bring strays home on a semi-regular basis. I thought about a career in animal medicine, but nothing can make me cry faster than a puppy in peril. For example, when we were bringing my mom’s puppy, Oscar, home, I was holding him in my lap when he suddenly realized that we had taken him away from his mother and he let out a little yelp/whine. I cried.

6. I am an organizational freak. It is to the point of a psychosis. My mom used to get mad at me because she would have a project out, get up to go to the bathroom or something, come back, and it would all be put away in its proper place. My husband, having lost an item, will call me and I will know exactly what I would have done with it if I had come across it. I can’t function in an area that is not organized. There is an interesting element of the psychosis, though, where a certain area (right now it is the closet in the office) gets out of a control for a long period of time. I then go crazy ripping it apart, organizing it, and putting it all together again.

(Bonus Fact: I like parenthetical asides (and the word parenthetical).)

Monday, November 12, 2007

In Search of a Hobby

I NEED a creative outlet! My brain and purse have been telling me this for a few weeks now. I was even prompted to go to the craft store. I did. I wandered about Roberts waiting for the THING to jump out at me and claim me as its hobby. Nothing did. The closest I came was the beading section. I, in fact, picked out several kinds of beads. I picked out tools and spacers and wire. And then reality struck. Why would this make a good hobby? Tedious stringing of beads. Expensive supplies. Mounds of beaded things. Do I give them to my friends? Do I . . . what? I just don’t know. So, I abandoned the beading aisle and dream.

Nothing else in the craft store really grabbed my attention. The scrapbooking stuff looked kind of fun, but I tried that once when I was fifteen, and I just don’t have the motivation for it. I liked to cross stitch once, but the patterns were all dumb and I think you can go blind doing that. My grandma was going to teach me how to knit once, but that presents the same production problem as the beads. I don’t want to be the one giving my relatives ugly sweaters for their birthdays (see Mrs. Weasley).

I thus abandoned my craft store search and moved on to the vast resources of the internet. I Googled “hobbies.” divides the vast genre of hobbies into five categories:



electronic games

non-electronic games


I could immediately cross “electronic games” off of the list. While I am a Guitar Hero, and no one can beat me at Mario Kart, I just don’t think that qualifies as the hobby/creative outlet I’m craving. Similarly, “non-electronic games” had to go. I love to play board games, and especially card games. I’m a mean pinochle player, but again, they just don’t qualify as creative.

That left me with three categories: arts/crafts (with which I had a shaky start), collecting, and pastimes. Okay, I think “collecting” can be kicked off the hobby island. I do have one collection of state quarters. And I have a damn lot of books (remember this, people, when I need help moving). I also collect accolades, but . . .

“Pastimes” kind of threw me off. What does that mean? Baseball? listed birding/wild birds, casino gambling, cigars, dance, freshwater aquariums, gardening, genealogy, guitar, home theater, magic and illusion, motorcycles, photography, radio controlled vehicles, saltwater aquariums, and sports gambling. Shockingly enough, we might have some takers here.

But first, the losers. Birds are nasty (see childhood experience raising emus); casino gambling, while sometimes fun, is dumb and far away and dumb; freshwater and saltwater aquariums: nope (Orlando the beta fish will have to fulfill all my fish needs); cigars = nasty; dance is probably not a good idea (plus Matt won’t go to ballroom dance lessons, so . . . that’s on him); gardening involves dirt, therefore I’m out; as a magician and illusionist I would turn out something like Gob; motorcycles are for people well past my demographic; I don’t even know how to respond to “radio controlled vehicles” as a pastime; and sports gambling would involve some know how about sports and a bookie.

That left me with genealogy, guitar, home theater, and photography. Okay, I’m probably not in the genealogy demographic, but I did get into it as a teenager and enjoyed it. Plus, it has the added benefit of counting towards my salvation, so, I'll keep it on the short list. I’ve thought about learning how to play the guitar (I’m sure I’d be a natural since I ROCK at Guitar Hero). My dad plays the guitar and it seems fun. I’ve also always wanted to learn how to play the violin, but I think that falls under “arts,” not “pastimes.” Home theater is definitely already within the realm of my life, since Matt’s main hobby is movies, but I think I’ll leave the home theater to his domain.

Photography seems the most intriguing of the pastimes. I have a camera, so, check. (In fact, I have a 35mm AND a digital camera.) I’m pretty sure I even have the book “Photography for Dummies,” so I have all of the gear. My friend at church just finished a photography class. I’m officially inspired. Plus, photography has the added benefit of lending the finished product to the arts/crafts side of things. AND you can incorporate puppies.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Last Week: Halloween


With the family in town for my swearing-in, we had to celebrate Halloween, old school style. So, everyone got together (including Blake’s new squeeze, Cindy) and carved pumpkins. I’ve decided that I’m not a big fan of carving pumpkins. I really hate putting my hand into the insides and scraping out all of the gook. After it’s all cleaned out though, it’s fun. Mine is the one that looks scared. (I got the idea from a pattern, but then I did it freehand. Go team.)

Mom made her traditional chili and we had Krispy Kreme doughnuts and watched a couple of episodes of the Twilight Zone. It's nice to be able to actually enjoy minor holidays without having to worry about law school.

Last Week: Swearing In

On Tuesday, October 30, 2007, I was sworn in as an attorney licensed to practice in the Utah courts and the Utah federal court. Good times. Mom came down, and Matt and Blake and Chris were there. The oath is as follows:

"I do solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Utah; that I will discharge the duties of attorney and counselor at law as an officer of the courts of this State with honesty, fidelity, professionalism, and civility; and that I will faithfully observe the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Standards of Professionalism and Civility promulgated by the Supreme Court of the State of Utah."

My mom has most of the pictures on her camera, but here's one that my brother took with my camera:

It was fun to see some of my old classmates, and it’s a huge relief to FINALLY be an official attorney. That’s right: Jessica Griffin Anderson, Esquire. Oh, and I finally got my bar number, it is as perfect as I could have hoped: 11500. Symmetrical and even and round and easy to remember.

After the ceremony we all went to lunch at the Lamb’s Grill. That was Plan C. Plan A was to go to CafĂ© Pierpont, but that is now closed (sad). Plan B was to go to The Garden on the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, but that was closed for renovations (lame). By the time we figured all of that out and decided on the Lamb’s Grill, my feet were no longer talking to me. In preparation for the swearing in, I bought a new suit and very, very pretty, very, very tall BCBG heels. Amazingly, after walking about downtown my feet hurt, but there were no blisters. I love good shoes.

Anyway, it was all very nice. The best part was having everyone there.

Voting Day

VOTING DAY! I love to vote. I love the rush of patriotism and the bragging rights, but most of all I love the “I voted” sticker. When I went to vote today, they ran out of stickers just before I came in. Cruel, cruel world. I was so looking forward to it. I even went to vote during my lunch break so I could wear the sticker longer—to no avail. Sigh. I guess I still get the other benefits: the rush of patriotism, etc. It just doesn’t feel the same without the physical manifestation of my civic superiority.

The major issue on the ballot today was a referendum regarding school vouchers. I have been going back and forth on the issue for weeks. I guess that explains why I am not really certain how I voted. I initially voted against it and then went back to change it, and I can’t remember if I did or not. Hmm…

The only other items on the ballot were two seats on the Provo City Council. I voted for Coy Porter, the former fire chief, and Mark Sumsion (neither of whom are incumbents). I can’t wait for the election returns! Here’s my prediction: vouchers, Porter, and Sumsion will all lose.