Thursday, August 27, 2009

I wish I was in Honolulu. . . BOOK TALK

Edited: Well, we're done talking now. Thanks Shosh for reading the book and taking the time to comment!! Should I do this again? I will read no matter what but does anyone want to join me? And if so, does anyone have any book suggestions, this isn't a dictatorship you know-I wouldn't want to choose all the books if we continue this. Also, I am going to research ( read my husband will research) a better way to chat.


Live Chat Now ( in the comments section).
Ok, I'm not sure this will work or that anybody cares but here goes.

Here is a synopsis of the book Honolulu by Alan Brennert (credit goes to his

Honolulu is the richly imagined story of Jin, a young “picture bride” who leaves her native Korea—where girls are so little valued that she is known as Regret—and journeys to Hawaii in 1914 in search of a better life. Instead of the prosperous young husband and the chance at an education she has been promised, Jin is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his disappointments out on his new wife, forcing her to make her own way in a strange land.

Struggling to build a business with the help of her fellow picture brides, Jin finds both opportunity and prejudice, but ultimately transforms herself from a naive young girl into a resourceful woman. Prospering along with her adopted city, which is fast growing from a small territorial capital to the great multicultural city it is today, Jin can never forget the people she left behind in Korea, and returns one last time to make her peace with her former life.

I thought we could try and "discuss" the book in the comments section of this post. I don't like to get all english teachery so I thought we could just focus on our thoughts, feelings, opinions about the book.

Here we go . . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vacation in (some) pictures

The universe seems to be stacked against me putting pictures on my blog. First, we can't find the cord to upload the pics from my blackberry (we're not sure it came home from vacation). Then, my husband gave me a card reader that doesn't work. Of course, I had to find that out the hard way. So, I am stuck e-mailing them to myself and then adding them which is a labor intensive process. Anyway, a lot of the better pics are on the husband's blackberry and my sister's camera (we would like to see those pics before we are old and gray :))

Here are some highlights:

We spent a day at Harper's Ferry and this a view from there. This is where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet. It is really beautiful. Harper's Ferry was important during the civil war (John Brown, slave revolts-you get the idea) and I had to come here tons of time for school trips. (It's only about 20 mins from my parent's house, yes they live that close to West Virginia but don't count that against them). After 11 years of marriage, we FINALLY got my husband to go. He actually enjoyed it and so did the kids. And I never have to go again. EVER.

We all were really there. Not all following directions or turning around, but we did enjoy the view.

Big T playing air hockey. Against who? Daddy. Neither remember who won so it must have been fun for them both! We took them to Chuckie Cheeses in MD because I had a coupon for a boatload of tokens (we still have some left for another trip) and we needed to fill an afternoon after our trip to the kosher subway in Balto. Where we pigged out-all of us. Anyway, it's not the time to address my chuckie cheese issues but just know that I have them.

Lulu taking M on a ride. Don't they both look like they are having fun? Lulu is always thinking of others before herself. She took M on lots of these rides. Little story: we went to the national zoo ( hopefully pics will come later) and we told Lulu she could pick out a birthday present for herself. We're in the store; looking around, and the first item Lulu brings up to me is a panda bib for the baby. "We should get this for M, Mommy. She would like it." I had to remind her to find something for herself. Sometimes I forget she is only 7 years old.

So technically this picture was taken after we got back at the Museum of Sci and Industry. But I had to include it. In case you are wondering Little T is dissecting an owl pellet. Yep, owl throw up. She wasn't fazed at all and was so focused and intent, it was amazing! She used those tools like a professional and found lots of little rodent bones (that was the goal after all). Maybe she'll be a scientist when she grows up.

That's it for now. Just a few selected highlights. Hopefully, more will follow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just a reminder

I really must make more time for blogging. . . must put it on the schedule with the other 10,000 things going on. . . .

I did just want to give a quick reminder of our book chat that is schedule Aug. 27 at 8 pm. Even if you have only read a bit of the the book (Honolulu by Alan Brennart) or haven't finished please feel invited to participate!! I can't wait to hear everyone's thought and opinions about the book!

Also, if anyone has any suggestions about an upcoming book please let me know. I have a few books on hold at the library but I would like to hear some other ideas.

Happy Reading!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reasons to love the East Coast/Maryland/Small town, USA

1. Less sales tax. Yes, I have mentioned this before but I had to mention it again. Chi-town has the highest sales tax in the country at 10% while MD has only 6%.

2. Utz!!! Anyone who keeps kosher and has been to the East Coast knows about the best chips/popcorn/cheese curls ever! They are all kosher (they even have ones that are like cheetos) and you can buy them in regular grocery stores. They have every flavor you can think of (crab chip anyone-made with old bay seasoning, it's delicious!) I can't stop raving and every time I am on the east coast I make sure to stock up (that is a reason we drive). Nothing in Chi-town compares!

3. Kosher bread that can be bought anywhere. I think this post is becoming all about food but I can't help it. You can find hot dog buns, sliced bread, dinner rolls and you don't have to go to a bakery to get it. It's just sitting there on the bread shelf waiting to be bought.

4. Another food item I found-store brand kosher yogurt. In my quest for saving money I have always had the complaint that we don't have many yogurt choices. We have to buy certain brands and I only buy them when they are on sale and/or I have a coupon. Here I found an inexpensive store brand that I can buy. The kids eat tons of yogurt so I am impressed. Too bad I can't stock up on that.

5. The swimming pool. My parents have a community swimming pool that we can walk to. The girls looooove it! We spent many hours there this vacation.

6. The mountains!! Illinois is soooo flat. I have mainly gotten used to it but whenever I go back to the East I remember that the mountains are beautiful. Because my parents live in a small town you don't need to drive far at all to see nature. Farms, hills, grassy fields, even mountains are just a stone's throw away (and not a large stone)! I used to hate "small town life" and always considered myself a city girl but the older I get the more I appreciate the small town mentality and laid back living it offers. Okay, okay; maybe not "laid back" but at least calmer!

7. Produce stands on the side of the road. They are mini farmer's markets wherever you go. I saw them on the side of highways and roads. I think if you have a backyard garden you qualify to have a produce stand in MD! Great fruits and veggies for really cheap prices!

8. Smooth roads without potholes! Can you imagine? My husband was actually the one who noticed this since he did all the driving. The roads are paved nicely and there isn't constant construction either. And I am not just talking about small town roads. Major highways (270, 70) are a pleasure to drive on and you are not afraid to lose a hubcap or any other car part for that matter.

There you have it: a comprehensive list why you should at least visit the East Coast south of the Mason-Dixon line. Of course the best reason to visit is my wonderful family, but I'm not giving you mine you have to get your own!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The long and short of it

So I am going to take a quick break from vacation talk to commemorate an important day.

It's our 11 year anniversary today!!

I'm not really sure I believe it but it's true. I have been married to my charming, funny, handsome, able to fix anything, sometimes crazy, sometimes quiet, extremely smart, helpful around the house, always guesses surprises, knows me better than I know myself, Torah loving, analytically thinking, musically inclined, lover of power tools, insightful, good listener, likes sci-fi and fantasy books; husband for 11 years.

Part of me wants to say "Where did the time go?"

And another part of me wants to say "Wow, that's been a loooooong time!"

They're both true. How can I be old enough to have 4 kids and be married this long? I still feel like a teenager in some ways (do I really have to make adult decisions?). But it also feels like a long time because in the past few years we have entered another stage of marriage. We continue to learn new things about each other but it's not like when we first got married and we barely knew anything about living with the other person. We know each other's quirks, strengths and weaknesses, and in spite of or because of those things that make us who we are, we love each other more.

I know where he will put his dirty socks (not the hamper). I know his mood when he comes home from work. I know what I can say to make him laugh. I know how to pick out books he'll like from the library. He knows I need to pick my own books from the library. That I need some time in the morning to read or at least a few quiet minutes to get my head into the day. He knows that I am obsessed with making sure the laundry gets done frequently so I don't have a ton to do at one time. He knows what to say to make me feel better or calm down or feel good about myself. Of course, he also know what to say to rile me up too.

In this day and age when divorces are common and for some it is hard to find a partner, I feel truly blessed and appreciative of what I have. Not just to be married but to have a good marriage that we are both willing to continue to work on.

So bring on 11 more!! Happy anniversary Y!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sorry I've been so neglectful

I feel like my blog is a 5th child that I have been neglecting.

I'm sorry blog!! And to those readers out there who read my blog, I haven't forgotten to write. It's just with vacation and all the logistics that go along with it I have been hard pressed to find the time to write. I am working on a post about the trip. Hopefully it will include some pics (even though the best shots are on my sis's camera- the best camera ever-I have camera envy!) In fact, I hope to include some pics that Lulu took, she is becoming quite a photographer at the ripe old age of 7.

So a longer post is coming soon!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

On vacation

Just a quick update- we are in Maryland visiting my fam.

We will be here for about 2 weeks or until they decide they are sick of us.

I hope to post and keep updating but between entertaining the kids and some internet problems out here in the boondocks I'm not sure how much time I'll have. I have a few topic ideas and some video to post so hopefully I'll get around to that too.

I'll leave you with a quick thought. Why do we live in the most expensive city ever? Everything is cheaper here in MD and even the tax is only 6%! In chi-town I wanted to get my wedding and engagement bands fixed (it's a long story but they both cracked all the way through) and the store wanted to charge me $400 dollars just to fix one ring. Here in MD we went to a jewelery store my mom knows does good work and they are charging less than $150 to fix both!!

I'm just saying. . . is Chicago that wonderful?

On that note, I'm going to go enjoy my time away! See you soon!