currently checked out

This is my current library shelf.

photo(6)

As you can see, it’s a healthy mix of Young Adult (Beauty Queens, Open Road Summer, Me Since You, Eleanor & Park), cozy mysteries (including the terrific avian-themed Meg Langslow series), less cozy mysteries (Murder at the Library of Congress), adult fiction (The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, The Wednesday Daughters), memoir (Delancey), and even one vampire novel (Shadow of Night). There might even be a historical romance in there, too, but don’t tell anyone. My hold list is just as eclectic: Landline, The Butterfly Mosque, Cop Town, and The Book of Life. What can I say? I like variety.

I get most of my book recommendations from Everyday Reading, Modern Mrs. Darcy, and plain old Goodreads. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need more. After all, the library lets me check out 100 items, and here I am, sticking at a paltry 19. So tell me, what should I be reading?

meet the parents

So the first time I met L.’s family, I think they asked me three questions between all of them. (Not an exaggeration, by the way. I think it was: where are you from, what do you do, how did you meet L.) They are conservative, reticent people, but good and nice people all around. The lack of third degree was fine by me, anyway, since meeting my significant other’s parents, siblings, etc really brings out the social anxiety in me. (As if it’s ever far beneath the surface, ahem.) Also, L. and I did the meet the family thing crazy fast: we had not been dating very long when he was planning to go to Boise for a long-scheduled visit, and on a very last minute impulse, I came along. He sprung it on his mom via text (it’s debatable whether she even knew I existed at that point) but they were all gracious enough to not make a big deal out of it.

Anyway, when we visited last weekend, everyone (including me) had loosened up a little. I talked more, they talked more, one of L.’s nieces actually came and gave me a hug before leaving (which was really sweet, thank you, M.) Things went as smoothly as you can get a “seeing potential in-laws for the third time” to be. But this Friday, for July 4, we headed up to Soda Springs to hang out with a bevy of cousins and aunts and uncles, and one grandfather, for the day. And heaven help me, I needed all the introvert social skills I could muster to get through that day, as these people? Not reticent at all.

We got up at 4AM to be in Soda Springs around 8, and then headed to the (very small-town USA) parade, which was kind of awesome. It had farming floats, and multiple teams of cheerleaders/dancers/drill squad-ers, and trucks throwing candy, and more trucks throwing candy, and kids running to pick up candy, and a lot of flags. I wore red, white, and blue (it was subtle, but still, it counts), learned that you more you cheer for floats, the more candy they throw you, and that not all cheerleaders/dancers/drill squad-ers can dance and walk at the same time and will back up the parade. Good knowledge to have, obviously. I also learned how useful those years of researching Mormons really were in that the Mormon-speak didn’t faze me, even if I did have to bite my tongue a couple times. All that aside, L’s relatives are really lovely people and welcomed me with open arms. The drive home, however, occurred in blessed silence and it was the best ever.

weekend in Boise

This weekend, L. and I went up to Boise. L.’s nephew M. turned twelve on Friday, and we went out to Cracker Barrel to celebrate (birthday boy’s pick). The wait staff there was a little inexperienced, evidenced by one of them dropping a coke in my lap. (That’s about as cold and sticky and pleasurable as you would imagine.) One trip to the ladies’ room, and a wrung-out dress later, I was fine. The rest of the weekend was nice and uneventful, with lunch in the park on Saturday, a long walk on Sunday, plenty of reading time (I finished this book), and even some time for me to work. It was apparently also enough time to further traumatize the dog. Four car trips in one month? Not her thing.  Sorry, dog.

The cat, on the other hand, is fine, since we left her at home. She’s had the run of the house, she’s shedding like crazy, and since my allergies have been acting up, today I get to alternate between dissertation writing and de-cat-hairing the house. Yay me.

June travels

June 4, I embarked on a 13-day, 5-state journey. (That sounds very epic. I just mean I flew to a bunch of places and drove to others and just happened to cross state lines.)

First up was San Antonio, for the annual Mormon History Association conference. I had a really good time, with good people, interesting conversation, and just enough sleep. I even managed to visit the Alamo.

photo 1

Then came Boise, where L. turned 34 on Sunday and we celebrated with his family with breakfast, board games, brisket and brownies (and some stuff that didn’t start with a B, but why ruin the alliteration?).

Then came Reno, where my dad picked me up, and we drove to Lake Tahoe. After a couple days spent reading and hiking at Ed Z’berg Sugarpine Point State Park,

DSCN1397

DSCN1394

DSCN1411

we drove to the Bay Area, where museums, baseball games, coffee houses and book stores awaited us in San Francisco and Berkeley.

photo 5

this was at Blue Bottle Coffee, but could have been at Peets, Brewed Awakening, Strada, Cafe Borrone, or any other coffee house we stopped at.

DSCN1435

A’s vs Rangers. We were fairly confident the A’s would win, but that…turned out to be very untrue. We lost, 8-14.

photo 3

Father’s Day breakfast near Japan town in SF.

The visit was capped off by a drive to Monterey (with a stop in Salinas to see the National Steinbeck Center) and the Asilomar Conference Grounds, which my dad wanted to check out for a workshop he’s hosting next year. Beautiful.

photo 4

With my father’s nomadic leanings (and, ahem, perhaps my own), being in the same place at the same time is relatively rare. I’m always grateful when we get to spend time together, and this time was no exception. Thanks, dad, for a lovely trip.

let your geek flag fly

I found myself showcasing my inner nerd yesterday, when I left the house wearing my Wrinkle in Time t-shirt, toting my Strand book bag, holding my dissertation notes, to go discuss Mormon history over lunch with a friend, C.

PicMonkey Collage

I only have the one Out of Print shirt, but I do have three Strand totes, one for every time I’ve been there. Visits to the Strand book store deserve commemoration.

But whatever. Like Pinterest tells me,

642537fea8e5bb868f8c9babb424a725Amen.

#MayAlphaZoo

Last month, L. participated in an art challenge: draw 26 animals, one for every letter of the alphabet, in 31 days. This is the result. (Click on the images to enlarge them, or go here to see them separately. Also, you can  see him speed paint the animals here, if you’re interested.)

10441145_787068311327738_2484644003199758478_n

10401369_786607634707139_1523441438223838312_n

On average, they took him two hours, but there were also illustrations that had him at his computer until late at night. So late, in fact, that I went to bed alone. Which isn’t actually all that bad, all things considered. So much room for me to spread out! That ‘sacrifice’ aside, it was actually really fun to see L. in artistic mode. (Well, except for the part where he would nod and respond to whatever I said to him, but then have no recollection of our conversation afterward. Took me a while to catch on to that and save my comments for more opportune moments.)

It’s hard to say which one is my favorite, but I am very partial to the bear, the octopus, and the chipmunk. (And definitely not the tarantula. Sorry, me and spiders don’t go well together.) But my favorite might be the highland cattle, with a ladybug perched on his nose. Apparently I’m a fan of goofy cows.

to the library!

I turned in the keys to my office at the U on Friday. It was quite bittersweet–I have loved having that office.

ImageAnd although I’ll obviously miss the stipend and support that came with the fellowship most, I’m not kidding when I say how much I loved being able to request every single book in the library that struck my fancy to be delivered to my office, if I wanted to.

Anyway, when a Facebook friend asked where I would be going, now that my fellowship is at an end, my sister A. quipped, “to the library!” Which is totally true. As I have lackluster discipline at best (though the SelfControl app certainly has helped with that!), it’s probably a good idea to go work at the library every once in a while, instead of my house with its myriad distractions (netflix! dog! laundry! snacks!). And since I have the downtown public library, the university library, and the Church History Library to choose from (all within what, a three mile radius of my house?), A. was more right than she knew.

Image

This seemed appropriate in light of my last post.