Friday, January 25, 2013

Books 1 & 2

I am terribly behind on my reading goal right now. I'm just barely finishing up book #2 and it's already the end of the month (uhm,  it's the end of January guys, when did this happen???) but I think I'm already 1.5 books ahead of my book count from last year! 

At the beginning of the month I flew home for a few days for a quick trip to Michigan (it was lovely) and I picked up a bunch of books (and stashed them in my carry on). My dad asked as he dropped me off at the airport, "Do you have books in here?!". He was kidding. 

So, I have plenty of material, just not the motivation. I'm trying though. 

Also, I have a confession. I already broke a rule. I started reading 'Pride and Predjudice' and just couldn't finish it guys. I tried. I really did but it took me hours to read a few pages and I had no idea what was going on. So, I'll try again later in the year, but I had to move on or I was going to get stuck on the first book of the year and then I would be really mad at myself. 

So, the real book #1 I read was Philippa Gregory's 'The Red Queen'.

I've always loved historical fiction, the Tudor period in England, and all things Royal related. The Other Boleyn Girl is one of my favorite movies. The Red Queen is the second in Gregory's "The Cousins War" series and even though I read this series out of sequence, it wasn't like I missed anything. In fact, this one takes place before the first book in the series does, so they're not a typical series in the way you usually read them. 

The Red Queen focuses on Margaret Beaufort, who was the grandmother to Henry VIII. Margaret was convinced from a young age that she had a higher calling in life. She idolized the young French Maid Joan of Arc and believed she was a special chosen woman of God. She would rather spend her life in a nunnary than get married and she tries to protest when she is given in marriage to Edmund Tudor at the young age of 9. She becomes a mother at 13 and a widow shortly after. Like her belief that she is destined for something more noble, she believes her son, Henry, is destined for something more noble too. He is raised by her brother-in-law Jasper even after she remarries again and leaves her beloved son behind.

I loved this book. It was rich with detail and humanized the plight of a young woman that, in her time, was seen no more than a human bargaining chip and a piece of property. She started out an an innocent, obedient daughter and blossomed into an intelligent, political mastermind that was highly responsible for placing her son on the throne. If you like historical fiction, this is for sure a must read. 

I'm currently reading, and about to finish, the third book in the series The Lady of the Rivers, about Jacquetta Woodville, who was the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV.


 I haven't reached the end, but this one has been entertaining as well. It's set before The Red Queen but they both cross the same time period around the middle of the book. 

I should be finished with this one this weekend. 

Up next is The White Queen which is about Queen Elizabeth Woodville, the daughter of Jacquetta. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Let me tell you a little that is still in the progress of being told. 

It's been extremely cold in the Salt Lake Valley the past few days thanks, in part, to a lovely inversion that has parked itself over our heads. The inversion traps the cold air and as a result, there is very little fluctuation in the temperature. 

We woke up on Wednesday morning and got ready like normal. Until T tried to turn on the shower. Nothing came out. Nada. Zip. No water at all. It was weird because everything else was working. Except our downstairs shower and faucet. We didn't hear any water gushing, so we figured it was a frozen pipe. Both showers butt up to the outside wall, so it wasn't out of the realm of possibility. So, we cranked the heat and hoped for the best. 

When I got home that afternoon from work, I checked the faucets. They were working! We were in the clear! We put space heaters in both bathrooms to keep the pipes from freezing again and kept the heat cranked. 

When I came home yesterday the first thing I heard stopped me in my tracks. I didn't even close the door at first. All I heard was splashing. And gushing. And water. I flipped out. There were several expletives said (oopsie) and I ran downstairs. My first instinct was to shut the water off. Thank heavens T had shown me where the water shutoff valve was in the front bedroom. As I booked it to the valve, my shoes splashed in the carpet...our entire basement had flooded. 

I went into the laundry room and was greeted by a gush of water and 2 inches of standing water. Our furnace, water heater, and brand new washer and dryer had been sprayed by water for goodness knows how long. The leak was directly over the washer and dryer. 

The pipe must has burst soon after T left for work because that little hole flooded our entire downstairs: the living room, hallway, bathroom, and 2 bedrooms. Completely soaked. 

Our back bedroom had a lot of our stuff just hanging out there in storage. All of the boxes were ruined. I was extremely overwhelmed. But about 2 hours after I got home there were a few knocks at the door. Our Bishop walked in and asked us what we needed. He told us that he had called a few people and they were on their way over. 'A few' people turned into 7 wonderful ward members who started moving boxes from the soaked room. They helped T rip up carpet. And they helped me keep my sanity. One by one, boxes and keepsakes were brought up. We lost a lot of our wedding cards from people and most of our guest book was ruined. We also lost a few letters T wrote to me while we were still dating. I think those were the losses that hit me the hardest. The printers, books, purses can all be replaced. But the letters he wrote me, the notes from our wedding guests, the cards they gave us, they're all smudgy from water and quickly warping as they dry. 

That was the hardest thing about this flood. 

The entire contents of our basement sat in my living room all night. Now, if you know me, you know that I get overwhelmed fairly easy. If it weren't for our wonderful ward members, T and I would have spent the night (him) lugging up boxes and (me) crying and having anxiety attacks.

The basement is drying out now. Insurance should be paying for everything to be fixed. It's cold in the house because of the fans drying out the carpet and the mildew smell is already starting to set in. But, T knows what he's doing (he does this kind of clean up for a living!) and we're a lot better off than we could be. 

My poor poor laundry room. Where T is standing is where the pipe burst and the entire wall is going to have to be ripped out and replaced. It's going to be a long road and it's going to be stressful. But the fans are going, the dehumidifier is going (it's really humid in here now...), and we're beginning to fix it. It's been a nasty introduction to homeownership for sure, but we're learning. We're learning that bad things happen when you least expect them. We're learning that we're surrounded by people who care and who love us. We're learning that all we have to do is ask and someone will be there to help us. 

We're also learning how much the winter sucks in Utah. womp womp.