Friday, August 26, 2011

Some Non-Fiction Recommendations

I have recently had a successful run of very interesting non-fiction books (and a documentary).  I felt they were worth recommending.

1.  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  This is the second book I have read by Hillenbrand - I thoroughly enjoyed Seabiscuit.  And I loved this book even more.  I found this blurb on that summarizes the book better than I could:   From Laura Hillenbrand, the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, comes Unbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini--a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You’ll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you’ll want to share this book with everyone you know. --Juliet Disparte

2.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  I was absolutely fascinated by this story!!  Again, stealing from, It is the story of the life of the woman whose "seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible.  Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution--and her cells' strange survival--left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories? --Tom Nissley "
3.  Evita:  The Real Life of Eva Peron by Nicholas Fraser, et al.  I have to admit there were parts of this book that were hard for me to get through - Argentinian politics and war history - but overall I really enjoyed reading the story of this woman.  If you love the Broadway musical  as much as I do - you will probably enjoy reading more about Eva Peron - especially the end.
4.  Waiting for Superman - a documentary about the public school system.  If you have children in school, if you are a student, if you are a teacher, if you care about the public school system, if you care about the education system - then watch this movie.  It was fascinating!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bear Lake - Day Three

The last day of our Bear Lake trip included a hike to Bloomington Lakes. The lakes are beautiful and stunning and easy to access - which meant that there were a ton of people there. But it was still worth it.  It was gorgeous!

There were people there cliff jumping and also jumping off a huge rope swing.  We just stayed on the opposite side of the lake and observed.

We made our way to a small snow field.

And last -what we had all been looking forward to - a show at the Pickleville Playhouse.  The "Bandito" saga continues this year with the show Who Shot Bandito?  We had such a riot last year and this year did not disappoint.  It was hilarious!  We had such a great time.  We love the Pickleville Playhouse!  (I forgot to mention that our first evening we saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat here - it was very fun too!)  Here are the kids with the villain himself!
Thanks to the "R" family for the cabin, the boating, the golf, the campfire, the hiking, Pickleville, the food and the fun!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bear Lake - Day Two

Day two we spent out on the lake on our friend's boat.

We set up on the beach and let the kids paddle around on the long board.

Then we took off on the boat.  Wes was the first on the water.

I-man was next.  The first time he has ever tried water-skiing...
The cheering section.
And he got up on the first try!!
He stayed up on the skis for so long we thought maybe he didn't know how to stop.  When he finally let go -  he asked us, "Why did you stop?  I wanted to keep going!"  What a kid!
Addie was next.  It was the first time for her too and - again - up on the first try!

The tube.  Cate was a little apprehensive at first...
It looked like she was having fun...
...until I zoomed in!  Poor Cate - she didn't love the tube.  But everyone else had a great time - even SJ!
Boating can really wear you out! the campfire.

Sketching the moon rising over Bear Lake.

Yummy smores!
And "stick biscuits" or "tarts" - whatever you want to call them.
A great couple!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

One Final Summer Fling - Bear Lake - Day One

We had such a great time visiting Bear Lake last year - that we wanted to make another trip before Summer's end. And we were lucky enough to be invited by some good friends to stay with them in their cabin. We had a wonderful time!

The first day we were on our own so we decided to visit the Minnetonka Cave.  Very cool!

After the cave we headed to Montpelier for lunch.  We happened to be right next to the Bear Lake County Fair - so we decided to check it out.  Definitely a good old fashioned small town county fair!

The kids were able to milk a fake cow.  Their first experience of this kind!
Plenty of livestock to see.

Bought a tasty "peg-leg" from the Royal Bakery.
Tried on some cowboy boots...
A good time at the fair!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Park City Family Reunion 2011 - Hiking and Fun

On the last day of the family reunion - we hiked as a group in Deer Valley.  It was a lovely day!

I couldn't stop admiring the wildflowers!  If only my mom would have been there to identify them for me.

I did know the names of a few...this is Columbine.
And Blue Penstemon
Views of Jordanelle
Toughing it out to the very top!
We made it!
Gorgeous views!
Later that night we gathered for a show of Mentos and Soda.

The family (minus Connie).