SugarHouse Mama

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Looking Awesome!

Here are some shots I snapped as the sun was setting. It's looking awesome! We are so excited! These guys worked really hard to get the project finished when they said they would (there was a 3.5 hour delay on the cement truck!).

Jaron will be coming in a couple days to stain and seal everything.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Progress...Sort of

OK. So it might not look like much to you, but after nearly 3 weeks of a torn up front yard, it sure feels like progress.

It rained (of course) most of the morning today, so it wasn't until late afternoon that the concrete guys showed up to put in the forms. It looks great!

If the weather remains sunny, they will pour tomorrow!

P.S. Eden was a little confused. It took her a minute to figure out how to access the front yard with all the posts and framing boards sticking up everywhere. Then she just took a mighty leap and cleared it all! I tried to take a pic, but she was too fast. it was just a grey blur flying through the air.

Adoption Process Begins Today

So today is the official DAY 1 of our adoption process.

I submitted our application to Beacon House, found a social worker to do our home study, requested copies of our birth certificates, scheduled doctor appointments, and pulled out our tax docs from last year. All this document collection makes me feel like we need to get a safe! I saw one at Cost-co that was small - just for important docs and such. It's probably a good idea. I don't want to pay for certified copies of all this stuff again - (or have to dig it out of various places).

To reach the goal I set for myself today, I still need to begin our Home Study application and my autobiography. And, if I'm feeling really productive, Robert and I will decide who we want to select as guardians in case we die. What a pleasant thought. We've actually already talked about it a little, so we just need to make sure we both still feel the same and then call the lucky family to see if they will accept!

It's a small start, but a good one, I think!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Someday: A New Concrete Walkway and Patio

After about two weeks of scheduling conflicts and off and on rain, it looks like we might get our concrete done!

We've been living with a mess of a front yard for WAY too long. Can't wait for it to get finished!

Chop! Chop!

I forgot about these pics.

So after we had the tree removed (professionally), we decided to chop everything up ourselves. it saved us about $1000!
After many, many people drove by and asked if they could take some of the wood off our hands, we weren't left with very much. Robert was very relieved! Less wood for him to chop and take care of.

Anyway, here are some pics we took of our great display of strength.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Just finished Water for Elephants. While I enjoyed the quick read, it didn't quite "do it" for me. The ending wasn't at all a surprise to me, so I guess it's a very good thing that the plot centered book was so fast-paced.

Once again, I have been disappointed in the NYT's Bestseller's list. Honestly, I wonder sometimes if people have ever read anything that is truly great. I think most of the titles that make it to the NYT's list are simply there because the reader isn't asked to think or evaluate anything, and it was a fast, easy read.

Anyway, I'll start with what I liked. The author switches from young Jacob to old Jacob about every other chapter. I loved the way she handled "the outsider" theme in both. Young Jacob was certainly an outsider. He seems very uncomfortable with his position in the circus. While the circus is clearly divided between performers and workers (often at the expense of life), Jacob isn't really considered either. He's an ivy-league educated vet – a ‘working man’, yet society would naturally elevate him above many of the performers. At the nursing home, he doesn't really fit in either. He's (mostly) capable of taking care of himself. He's just old and neither he nor his family trusts his body to be reliable.

Jacob never really tries to fit in. He accepts what he is and just makes do. He's pretty good at bridging gaps.

The "freaks" was another interesting theme. In the circus Uncle Al loves and collects bonefide freaks. Natural oddities. It's a great revenue builder for him. At the nursing home, Jacob seems to consider himself a "freak." A natural oddity. His body fails and doesn't work correctly, and he doesn't recognize his gnarled, skinny hands, his sagging, liver spotted face, etc. The author uses somewhat grotesque language, through Jacob's voice, to physically describe the character. Even the treatment he receives from most of the staff and his family seem to allude to the fact that he is not "normal."

Illusion vs. reality, rivalry/jealousy, humanity vs. inhumanity, forgiveness, etc. were all themes I enjoyed.

While the dark side of the circus, especially during the depression era, was not particularly revelatory nor surprising, it seemed well researched and accurate.

I did not like that the characters lacked depth. Walter and, to some extent, Camel were the most developed, complex characters in the story. And even they were trite at times.

The caricature treatment of Jacob, Marlena, August, and Uncle Al made for a predictable plot and rote actions. The plot hangs on weak events. Rosie clearly forgives August for the merciless beatings, as Jacob finds her "purring" under August's doting charm; yet, her decision to kill him seems to be hinged on the moment he flicked a cigarette into the air and she caught it in her mouth. I can imagine that would hurt - but certainly no more than the beatings that tore her flesh. And it was a hapless moment - as opposed to the deliberate intent of the beatings. I suppose one could argue that this time Rosie saw August hit Marlena too; but, if that's the case, the author fails to highlight that moment like she did with the cigarette butt. So either way, I chalk it up to a failure in the writing.

Also, it still doesn't sit right with me that Rosie's murderous act and Jacob's concealment of it are treated lightly and remain unaccounted for. Jacob does say that the keeping of the secret made a difference, but it's a passing sentence and we don't see it or understand in the remotest way what depth it could hold. I'm wondering if Rosie is considered a heroine and her act goes unpunished because she is an animal. The story seems to make it very clear that she is intelligent and has an understanding that surpasses some of the humans in the story. (This is part of the humane vs. inhumane theme).

I'm not condoning August's actions. But I can't excuse killing someone without consequence either. A Thousand Splendid Suns takes a similar situation - a woman killing an abusive man to save another woman - yet Miriam is more heroic to me than Rosie. She saved someone else's life through the payment of her own – not just in taking someone else’s. There wasn't really anything particularly heroic in Rosie killing August. The lack of atonement for both Rosie and Jacob is glaringly lacking.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Here's how the house started out. I spent the winter months drawing up plans and selecting all the colors and finishes. It was SO much FUN! When I get into something, I really throw myself into it. I spent hours making sketches, changes to the sketches, and then throwing it all out the window when I saw something else I liked. It was a great way to spend the cold months....dreaming about summer!

We couldn't wait for spring to come so we could get started. The way things are going, it's going to take 2, maybe 3 summers to get everything finished up...

It all began with the removal of a rather large, mostly dead tree in the front yard....

Eden had A LOT of fun playing on her new agility course! It was fun to watch her climb and jump over the huge logs. She's a character!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Bumpy Wagon to Jump On

About a year ago I decided I’d jump on the website/blogging band wagon. Then we had a series of unfortunate events which involved nearly every piece of technology Robert and I own….
We have finally recovered.
And so it begins (I just hope I can be timely and devoted to my new project).