Sunday, April 7, 2013

I don't mind aging ...

but I don't want to get old.

There is a huge difference.

My parents have aged.  They are 65 and 67.  But they act like they are in their 30's.  They are both in phenomenal shape (my dad still runs about 5 marathons a year).  They are active.  They try new things.  The can play.  When they come to visit us, they play with the boys ... baseball to board games.

My in-laws are old.  They are 72 and 75.  But they act like they are in their 90's.  They are overweight. They suffer from knee and hip problems.  They are inactive.  When they were here to visit, they stayed in the basement, complained that I didn't give them clean towels every day and watched t.v.

Maybe there is a huge difference between 67 and 72 that I will understand better when my dad gets older.  I think the more likely scenario is that, while my dad will slow down, he will never stop.

I also think that years of being overweight and not caring have negatively impacted my in-laws.  I know the knees problems and the high-blood pressure are directly related to the weight.  It is cyclical ... weight leads to bad joints, bad joints means you can't exercise as much which leads to more weight.  But they could do water exercise in the natatorium down the street.  I just think they stopped caring somewhere along the way...

Is age a state of mind?

Gotta run .. I'm off to the gym!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Not Just Hiking - February 2013

Want to see what I am reading and have read before I post my complete list at the end of the month? Want to know when I read a book or what I am going to read? Check out my Goodreads page. Want to see a list of every physical book in this house? Want to know what my husband read? Want to know what my kids own? Visit LibraryThing.

Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul
Sproul is very smart and quite convinced that he is right.  I just don't happen to agree with him.  I am not a Calvinist and we fall apart on the question of The Fall of Man.  I can't imagine ever believing that "man" lost his desire for God in The Fall.  He may have sinned and been cast from The Garden, but lose his yearning for the creator?  You will never convince me.

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
I read this last year and liked it.  I read again it for book club and liked it even more the second time.  The first time the description and the writing took me in.  This time the sadness of the story captured my attention.  Totally different experience

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
Superlative.  Heartbreaking.  Best book of the year and my choice to win the TOB.  If I get it right this year I will be two for two as I chose The Sisters Brothers last year.
Read. This. Book.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Another TOB book that I happily gave to my son.  Really good, but not better than Johnson's.

The Civil War, Vol. 1 by Shelby Foote
If you want to know absolutely everything about the Civil War than this is for you.  If, however, you want - as I did - a brief overview, I suggest you pick up something besides a three volume history.  Good, but dense.

Retriever Puppy Training by Cherylon Loveland
It isn't the greatest book in the world, but it may be the greatest book on training a 8 to 16 week old puppy.  Which I am doing right now.


Not getting much of anything done around here, but who cares?  This guy is in our lives.  

Welcome to our home Shelby!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Atlas Shrugged - Chapters I to V

What do you know of Ayn Rand?

I knew next to nothing about her a week ago except that she wrote some very long books.  I actually purchased a copy of Atlas Shrugged from the bookstore and then took it back.  I refuse to carry around 5 pounds of a book to read.  This, no matter how much I like being able to make notes in a book, would have to be a Kindle read.  That was what I knew of Ayn Rand.

Surprising right, that a life long Republican does not know anything about Ayn Rand.  Although I have recently been told that my credentials as a "Republican" are worthless as long as I refuse to support "good" men like Todd Akin, I have always been and continue to be a Republican.  Even though the GOP's hold on me is much more tenuous than it used to be.  And I know exactly only one other person in the Republican party who agrees with me on all issues ... we will get to that later ... but I am still a Republican.  And I remember often being asked if I had read Atlas Shrugged.

Five chapters into this book and I understand why everyone asked me this question.  And here we get into why I AM a Republican.  But first ...

I am NOT a Republican because I agree with their platforms on social issues.  I am pro-choice and I support gay-marriage.  (Because I will not be the one judging anyone in the long term.)

I am NOT a Republican because I agree with their platform on immigration reform.  I support the DREAM act.  (Marco Rubio and I agree on a lot here.)

However, if being a Republican means I agree with this quote from Ayn Rand, then we have just discovered why I remain a Republican.

If that's the price of getting together, then I'll be damned if I want to live on the same earth with any human being!  If the rest of them can survive only by destroying us, then why should we wish them to survive?  Nothing can make self-immolation proper.  Nothing can give them the right to turn men into sacrificial animals.  Nothing can make it moral to destroy the best.  One can't be punished for being good.  One can't be penalized for ability.    page 78

I reamin a Republican because at my core I believe that a man should be allowed to work for what he wants and should be allowed to keep most of it.  He should not be forced to give it away for the good of others or for the good of the nation.  I believe, despite what he himself says, that Warren Buffet is entitled to keep the majority of his wealth and should not be forced to give it away to support men and women who have been unemployed for over three years.

There.  I said it.  Doesn't make me sound very nice, but let us get to the rest of the story.  I do think that Warren Buffet has a MORAL obligation to help those in need.  He just doesn't have a political or social obligation.

We are no Warren Buffett, but we make more money today than we ever thought we would make in our entire lives.  And we pay a huge amount in taxes every year.  Most of the time, I don't mind.  I think the military is probably too big and is incredibly wasteful, but I also think we need a strong military to protect ourselves and others.  I think we should use our strength for good, but I also believe that we can also use our strength to protect our own interests.

I am a firm believer in the public school system.  Heck, I would pay more taxes if we could pay teachers more.  I believe that this is where we have failed as a nation.  I do not believe that the guy who works on my car should have the same benefits as we do.  Yep, you heard me right.  I am NOT saying he doesn't work hard.  I am NOT saying he doesn't work long hours.  I am saying that his skills are not worth what my husband's are.  I am saying he can't do my husband's job. Hey, I have a pretty high IQ and I couldn't do his job.

What I will also say is this ... his children and my children should have EXACTLY the same educational opportunities.

Are his kids at a disadvantage to mine because we travel with our kids and expose them to things that his kids aren't exposed to?  Yes.  Should I pay for his kids to go to China and Europe?  Nope.  Why not?  Well, life isn't fair.

Do I think my kids should have the same amount of money spent on them in school as the learning disabled or troubled kids.  Yes.  Will they ever get that. Nope. Why not?  Well, life isn't fair.  (By the way, the man who taught me this is a Democratic school superintendent of a big city school district I sat next to on a plane a few months ago.)

What I don't like spending my money on is the extended unemployment insurance and many of the social programs.  I guess at the end of the day, I would say I am a Republican because I want to teach people to fish instead of giving them fish.

But because of our MORAL obligation to help people,  we are also generous givers.  We do give to food banks and we do give to education programs.  I will put my hand out to help you and I will try to pull you up and help you succeed.  But I will not keep you there indefinitely.  Yes, at some point, I am also willing to let you fail and make you have to do it on your own.  I don't want to help someone who does not want to be helped.

And as much as I don't like the coach of the Texas Longhorns, I agree with his statement:

I've always felt like, in America, you don't pull everybody down to the ones who can't get there.  You pull everybody up to the ones who have.
I think Mack Brown read the first five chapters of Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Very Late

I know this is late, but here is my 2012 wrap-up. Finally.

Miles hiked in 2012 - 120

Books read in 2012 - 72

See all of the books I read in 2012 on my Goodreads Page

Favorite Biography:
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Favorite Memoir:
Let's Pretend this Never Happened (read it twice, but only counted it once)

Five Star Stories:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (Biblioracle Recommendation)
Gone Girl
A Thousand Cuts
The Art of Fielding
Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Great Classics:
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Return of the King

Waste of My Time (all book club choices):
The Power of One
The Camel Bookmobile
The Tiger's Wife

Books I Loved Sharing with the Boys:
The Underneath
Watership Down
I am the Cheese

Who needs horsepower?

This may have been the coolest thing I have ever done. In. My. Life.

Want to go dog sledding an hour west of Calgary?  Snowy Owl is the way to go.


So I missed out (again) on a Bleak House read-a-long because I thought I was blinded by grief.  But now that I have readers and can see again, I think I'll be doing this ....

Atlas Shrugged Book Club

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not Just Hiking - January 2013

Want to see what I am reading and have read before I post my complete list at the end of the month? Want to know when I read a book or what I am going to read? Check out my Goodreads page. Want to see a list of every physical book in this house? Want to know what my husband read? Want to know what my kids own? Visit LibraryThing.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
I read this at the beach which was a great place to read it.  Funny, smart and easy.  I am a little surprised this made the ToB list, but I am also very glad not every book on it requires deep thinking.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I loved this book. And let me say a big thank you to the TOB, otherwise I would not have picked this up. I thought it was brilliantly put together ... the author made the disparate stories come together in a way that made absolute sense to me. It was bright and colorful with just enough madness to keep it interesting. It spanned decades of time, but I did not get lost along the way.

Hey, don't judge.  I could have read more, but I didn't want to.  I spent the month of January vacationing in the Florida Keys, skiing in British Columbia and cleaning up after the holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best time of the year ....

And I do not mean Christmas.

I have read three of the books.

Gone Girl
Bringing up the Bodies

plus Billy Lynn's Long Half-time Walk which is in the playoff round.

The Orphan Master's Son is on my shelf.

Where'd You Go Bernadette is on my library wait list.

The Fault in Our Stars is on my Christmas list.

I have never heard of six of the books.  I'll have lots of fun with the book store gift card my mother-in-law got me for Christmas.  

I was right on the money last year with my pick of The Sister's Brothers ... this year?  I'll get back to you.  Early choice is Arcadia because I loved it.  But I am not sure it will be GOOD enough to make the finals.

By the way, in case anyone has wondered where I've been.  Funny thing happened on the way to 45.  I needed glasses. 

I thought I was too grief-stricken to read. I was pretty grief-stricken and mildly depressed.  I thought I would get over it.  I thought I would pull-through the pain into the sunlight of reading.  The sunlight came out and I still couldn't read.  Turns out, I just needed glasses.  Two or three pairs of cute readers later and I am back in the books.

Predictions anyone?