Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Year In Review

Lava Hot Springs - May 2014
Russia - July 2014
Mt. Rushmore - September 2014
Utah Jazz Game - November 2014
Christmas - December 2014

2014 has been a year full of adventures, challenges, and opportunities! I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Year of Magical Thinking

My book club chose to read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion for its December selection. This memoir is an account of the year following the sudden and unexpected death of the author's husband, John Gregory Dunne. Didion dispassionately equates her grieving process with temporary insanity, becoming almost obsessed with the medical condition that killed her husband, feeling that she could have done something to avert the tragedy, refusing to give away his possessions because he might come back and need them, and deliberately avoiding all locations (around the world) associated with him. I did not relate to this book at all. It is an intellectual, rather than emotional, response to the death of a spouse of 40 years which reads like a treatise on grief (even citing research). I had not read anything by Didion, or her husband, before and I found it rather off-putting that she kept quoting herself throughout. I did not understand any of the references out of context.  I also found all of her name-dropping to be quite annoying, mostly because I didn't know the majority of these New York literati.  I was further alienated by her lavish and privileged lifestyle.  The fact that she still had to send out her laundry no matter how empty she felt did not leave me very sympathetic! Once again, whenever I dislike something that has received such glowing reviews, I wonder if I have missed something. However, I sometimes had the sense that this memoir was Didion's self indulgent way of coming to terms with her own grief with memories and anecdotes only she can appreciate and that it was published and so well received solely because of her friendship with the aforementioned New York literati. I can appreciate Didion's exceptional writing style, but I wouldn't recommend this memoir.

Note:  To be fair, this was probably not the best thing to read while teaching Hamlet to my seniors and Night, by Elie Wiesel, to my sophomores.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Megaplex Theatres Giveaway!

Winter is a time when I really love going to see movies and this year there are so many good ones on my list!  Are there any movies you are excited about seeing?  I am giving away a $50 gift card to any Megaplex Theatre (locations in Centerville, Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Sandy, South Jordan, Ogden, Lehi, Logan, Cedar City, St. George, and Mesquite, Nevada).  Just follow Phaedra's Adventures via Google Friend Connect (located in sidebar) and enter the Rafflecopter below.  You can get another entry by leaving me a comment telling the movie you are most excited to see (I loved The HobbitInto the Woods, and Unbroken).  The giveaway will run until Jan. 2 and I will notify the winner via email on Jan. 3.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas this year was absolutely wonderful!
On Christmas Eve we have the tradition of opening one present and everyone gets Christmas jammies!  Here is the traditional photo of Sean and Tashena in front of the Christmas tree! I spent the night at my parents' house, much to the delight of Sean who wanted to watch the movie Elf.  He had it set up in the DVD player all day.  He also woke me up early Christmas morning to show me the letter Santa left for him!
Christmas morning!
Santa Claus left us lots of presents!
We draw names for stockings and I drew Tashena.  I got her the coveted Nike basketball socks, an iPod case, some headphones, and a gift card to Claire's.  Ironically, Tashena drew my name and gave me socks, several bags of my favorite candy cane kisses, brushes, some Burt's Bees lip balm (my favorite), and some storage boxes.
Tashena opening her presents.  This year she got a lot of clothes and jewelry!
Her big present was a TV.  She was very excited!
It is so fun to watch Sean open presents because he is so excited!  He got some Wii games, action figures, clothes, and a remote-controlled helicopter (which he played with all day)!
Sean's big present was an iPod (just like the one Tashena got for her birthday but in Hulk green instead of purple).
My favorite present was a pair of Dr. Martens boots.  I got a black pair last year and now I have a brown pair!  I love these boots because they last forever!  I also got some levis and sweaters, some DVDs, some new snow pants (I can't wait to go snowshoeing), and a Colorado Avalanche phone case!
Marilyn made Sean and Tashena rag quilts!  They turned out so cute and they were a big hit!
This is the aftermath!  It was such a good day.  I am so glad that my family is close and that we can spend holidays together.  I am so glad that Sean and Tashena are in our family because they make every holiday so much better.  I hope you had a wonderful day filled with family and friends!

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