Friday, March 31, 2017

Casual Fridays

Hi there! I think the best way to play catch-up this week is with a Photo-Prompted Post so let's just jump right in with it.
PhotoGrid to the rescue once again! Last week, I was on a Girls Only cruise with my BFF Danette, and let me tell ya, we had a fabulous time. We stopped in Key West and Cozumel, soaked up lots of sun, ate to our hearts' content, relaxed, read (of course!), played loads of Yahtzee and other assorted card and board games (all of which, I am loath to admit, Danette proved the Ultimate Champion of the Cruise), and just had a generally wonderful time together. We couldn't have asked for better weather, and I couldn't have asked for a better friend to share this with. P-Nutt, I hope your first cruise was everything you hoped it would be, and I can't wait for our next adventure together!
These are the books I ended up reading on our cruise: Under A Maui Moon and Sisterchicks in Sombreros both by Robin Jones Gunn. Neither of these are on my 2017 book list, but I had a little agreement with myself that if I finished John Adams before the cruise, I would take all my new Robin Jones Gunn books with me. Mission accomplished. I really loved Under A Maui Moon. It's such a sweet thing that I've grown up reading RJG and been able to connect with characters going through the same things in life that I'm going through--not only in my teen years, but now as a grown-up married woman as well. I'm always encouraged reading Robin Jones Gunn. And reading my first Sisterchicks book (there are eight! four of which I've recently acquired) was super-fun and totally apropos seeing as Danette and I were on our own Mexican cruise! Robin, you never disappoint!
Summertime has officially arrived in the Sunshine State and Cody has been making us smoothies for lunch every day this week. (Disclaimer: the above photo is some stock photo I stole from the internet to talk about how great Cody's smoothies are and not a photo I took of the smoothies Cody actually has made this past week.) He makes LITERALLY the best smoothies in the world, and now that he's back to work today, I don't even know what I'm going to do with myself come lunchtime. Seriously though, if you want the greatest smoothie you have ever tasted in your life, you have to have one of Cody's. I'm not exaggerating about this.
And finally, I know this is what you really come here for, right? The pups are doing great, and I have to say, I've been really proud of them this week. My mom gave us this bag of colorful balls, and the baby boy I nanny has been loving them (they're all over my house). The dogs have not eaten or even attempted to chew on a single one of them. There was a time in the not so distant past that Major would have taken it upon himself to personally demolish every single one and look at him: not so much as a sniff even though they're touching him. #dogownershipwin #codydoesallthetraining #ijustbragaboutit

That's it for today. I'm going to go eat some strawberry shortcake to console my smoothie-less self. Fill me in on your life lately, and have fun welcoming April this weekend! (I can't believe we've flown through the first 3 months of the year already!) Adios!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman."

~Abigail Adams~

Monday, March 27, 2017

Five Facts About Reading

A while back, my mom sent me these five serious facts about reading which I found helpful and stimulating. I hope these help you remember how important it is to read...because we don't want to end up like the dinosaurs.

1) Reading can make you a better conversationalist. 

2) Neighbors will never complain that your book is too loud.

3) Knowledge by osmosis has not yet been perfected. You'd better read.

4) Books have stopped bullets. Reading could save your life.

5) Dinosaurs didn't read. Look what happened to them. 

I know that this is a lot to take in and think about, but can't you see how important reading is?! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Unfaithfulness in public stations is deeply criminal. But there is no encouragement to be faithful. Neither profit, nor honor, nor applause is acquired by faithfulness...There is too much corruption, even in this infant age of our Republic. 
Virtue is not in fashion. Vice is not infamous."

~John Adams~

"...and there is nothing new under the sun." 
Ecclesiastes 1:9

Monday, March 20, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : John Adams

Y'all. I feel like I should just wait and post this recap on the Fourth of July because America. John Adams was a patriot down to his marrow. He probably bled red, white, and blue. I mean, he died on the 4th of July 1826--50 years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence which he signed, and many people credit him as the driving force behind the Declaration. Come. On. 

Anyway, John Adams by David McCullough published in 2001 is (of the three presidential biographies I've read so far) far and away the best one yet. It has the perfect balance between being detailed and thorough while not crossing the line into exhausting and boring. His Excellency, while interesting and readable, lacked the detail I really appreciate in a good biography, and TR, while certainly educational and comprehensive, was a bear to get through. 

And here's another thing: I learned so much. I think that American history is unfortunately dying in this country and in our school systems, and that grieves me. A wise person once said that if we cannot remember the past, we are condemned to repeat it. I can feel myself starting down a rabbit hole here so before we go there, I'll just say that our second president, John Adams, is a largely forgotten man in history. Sandwiched between historical giants like Washington and Jefferson, Adams often gets overlooked, in my opinion. I didn't even realize before reading his biography that he only served one term as president, not two. 

Some of the greatest accomplishments of his life were actually achieved in the years before his presidency as he fought hard for American independence from England. For example, John Adams was the one who nominated George Washington to command the Continental Army. He also wrote the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which is the oldest functioning written constitution in the world. Then, he went overseas and established the first American embassy anywhere in the world (in Holland), and on his own initiative he petitioned for and secured an essential Dutch loan during the Revolutionary War which established the foundation for American credit in Europe. As far as diplomacy goes, he won the greatest victory in American history by negotiating the Paris Peace Treaty along with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay. 

During his presidency, despite the country dividing into pretty mean-spirited, malicious political parties, he managed to stay above the fray and carry out his role with dignity (for the most part), he was scandal-free (which is more than we can say for a lot of our nation's presidents), he appointed one of the greatest Supreme Court Chief Justices in our country's history (John Marshall), and he secured peace with France during the bloody French Revolution even though America was screaming for war which most certainly would have been a death sentence to our fledgling nation. And not only did he win peace with France, he did it while still promoting and advocating that the country strengthen its defenses by building the Navy, an idea that so many of his time couldn't reconcile with his also wanting to achieve peace. He really was a visionary. 

On top of all this, he was a true blue family man and a Christian. He and his wife literally wrote thousands of letters to one another during their many separations. He was a hardworking lawyer and farmer, and he lived his whole life economically within his means. He was just a really good guy all around, and I am a fan. Obviously he was human and certainly not without his faults, but I really enjoyed reading about his life, and I appreciate the integrity with which he lived. 

I definitely recommend this biography of John Adams. This is an enjoyable book to read and it's rich with history. Adams lived not only through the American Revolutionary War but the French Revolution and the War of 1812 as well so there's a lot in there. Worth your time, for sure. 

Do you know much about John Adams? Who is your favorite president? Do you think our country is failing to properly educate the next generation about our history? Do you think studying history is important or a waste of time? Come at me, bro, I can take it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Casual Fridays

I've been reading Judges this week and I have a question:

Why did Samson tell Delilah the secret to his strength?

I need a male perspective here because not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES he lied to her about what made him strong. And not once, not twice, but ALL THREE TIMES she did exactly what he said would take his strength away. And not only that, she had a whole posse of Philistine men ready to take him away captive.

I mean, did he think she was just playing around and wouldn't try the fourth tactic he gave her? Really??

Every time I read this passage of Scripture, I just can't get over this. Do women really have that kind of nagging power (Judges 16:15-17)? Are men's egos just that big (Judges 16:20)? If you're a man and you were in Samson's position, would you have given in??

The older I get, the more I realize that I can't criticize the Israelites for complaining in the desert or turning to idols or begging for a king. I can't get down on Peter for denying Jesus or castigate the disciples for arguing about who was the greatest. Because how many times have I complained, neglected my Lord, or argued with my fellow man about something petty? Too many to count. 

But I'm sorry, this Samson and Delilah situation just strikes me as completely and totally, 100%, you-must-be-stupid, this is a no-brainer, common sense choice. She is obviously out to get you, dude. You should not tell her where your strength lies. Very cut and dry. 

Am I missing something here?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Upon common theaters, indeed, the applause of the audience is of more importance to the actors than their own approbation. But upon the stage of life, while conscience claps, let the world hiss! On the contrary if conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value."

~John Adams~

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Tuesday Confession

As you may remember, I recently re-read Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.
I love that novel. 
I love all Jane Austen's novels.
But here's the big confession: I don't care for either of the major film adaptations. 
Most Austen enthusiasts I know will pick a side and go down swinging over this, but I just don't like either one.
The BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth certainly pays faithful homage to the novel, but it's painfully long, the acting is a tad on the cheesy side, and several of the actors don't really capture the essence of the characters they're portraying, in my opinion.
The 2005 film directed by Joe Wright is absolutely gorgeous with a fantastic score and the actors do a much better job of embodying the characters (with the unfortunate exceptions of Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen--arguably the two most important characters of all), but it basically flips the novel the bird and does its own thing for some of the most important scenes that it makes me want to scream every time I watch it.

Yes, I own both of these films on DVD.
I'm not sure what that says about me, but whenever I'm in the mood for Pride & Prejudice, I just sit down with the actual novel instead of popping one of those trainwrecks into the DVD player.

Have you seen either of these movies? Are you a fan of one or the other?
Anybody else own movies that you don't particularly enjoy and you're not exactly sure why? 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely--a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement."

~from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen~

Friday, March 3, 2017

Casual Fridays

Y'all. I've been trying to avoid this, but I think I need to have my wisdom teeth extracted. I've had two different dentists tell me that it would be a good idea to have them out (the first of which told me this more than 5 years ago, but he wasn't very professional and I just didn't believe him). I hate, hate, hate the dentist and am terrified slightly anxious about the idea of going under anesthesia for oral surgery. I never had braces or even so much as a cavity until a few months ago, and when I went to have it filled: I cried. (But for the record, my husband told me I was very brave and he's a nurse and he doesn't lie about stuff like that.) Anyway, my bottom left wisdom tooth occasionally causes me pain (which is why I went to that first dentist 5 years ago), and this week, my jaw has been hurting so bad. This is possibly the worst it's been and the longest it's lasted. Or maybe it just seems that way because it's fresh in my mind that my dentist told me I needed to have them removed. Cody and I went to the dentist a few months ago for the first time in our marriage because we figured it was about time we started taking advantage of the dental insurance we have. I hadn't had a cleaning in more than 10 years. So, I mean, I think I'm taking pretty good care of my teeth if after more than 10 years of nobody cleaning my teeth but me, I only had one small cavity starting. Right?! Ok, we are wandering all over the place here and what is the point of all this, Hannah?! The point is this: have you ever had your wisdom teeth removed? Did you live? And did any of you actually have a good experience with wisdom teeth extraction? (Isn't "extraction" the most painful sounding word you've ever heard??) Is there an oral surgeon in the Central Florida area you would recommend? And realistically, how long was your recovery? No horror stories, please. As you can see, I'm having a hard enough time with this as it is. 

Moving on, since today seems like a good day to be taking your advice and opinions on important matters, please send me all your favorite go-to recipes. I've been lacking inspiration in my meal-planning lately and could use some fresh ideas. What does your family love? The easier, the better.

On to the next topic: as you may have read, I recently read The Taming of the Shrew, and I am now accepting suggestions for which two Shakespearean plays should go on my 2018 book list. I read Macbeth last year, and I still intend to read Hamlet this year so that leaves your choices for a tragedy as follows:

  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Cymbeline (is this a tragedy or a comedy? I've seen it listed in both categories)
  • Julius Caesar
  • King Lear
  • Othello
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Troilus and Cressida
I'm personally leaning toward Romeo and Juliet. I haven't read it since 9th grade. Your options for a comedy are:
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • As You Like It
  • Comedy of Errors
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • The Tempest (once again: tragedy or comedy? I've seen it on both lists)
  • Twelfth Night
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • The Winter's Tale
I'm thinking Twelfth Night for a comedy, but I'm seriously open to any suggestions you have. What say you? As you can see, I have 10 tragedies and 11 comedies to go. My long-term plan is to read one tragedy and one comedy each year until I get through them all and then I'll move on to his histories and poetry after that. I just realized that I'll probably be 50 before I reach my goal of reading everything Shakespeare ever wrote and that makes me feel very old. Like, really will I still be blogging when I'm 50? Oy with the poodles already.

To sum it up: wisdom teeth, recipes, and Shakespeare. Heaven help. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow,
And dart not scornful glances from those eyes,
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor:
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
And in no sense is meet or amiable.
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty;
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience:
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace,
Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms!
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot:
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready; may it do him ease.

~Katharina's final speech in The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare~