26 June 2009

Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

I finally finished my first of 20 books! It has been quite the endeavor. But, ultimately, I have mixed feelings about persisting with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

For the first 250 pages of this book, I wanted to put it down and never read it again. It took me nearly two months to finish the first third of the book. I continued reading only out of persistence: People rave about this book.

As the title indicates, the book is about the adventures of the two main characters: Joe (Joseph) Kavalier and Sammy Clay (Klayman). The first half of the book is set in pre-World War II New York City, where Joe has immigrated from Czechoslovakia. He locates his father's sister (Sammy Clay's mother) in Brooklyn. He and Sammy forge a quick bond. Joe is an artist and Sammy a writer. They conspire to make their fortunes writing comic books, most beginning with the title The Amazing Adventures of ...

Both men are Jewish and are painfully aware of what is happening in Europe. Joe's family still lives in the ghettos. They base their early comic book stories on defeating the Third Reich. Both men fall in love; Joe with a woman named Rosa and Sammy with a man named Tracy Bacon.

The first half of the story moves so slowly because the Michael Chabon uses it to set up the situation in which he shifts the story dramatically. Joe works day and night to make enough money to secure a passage out of Europe for his younger brother, Thomas. He manages to get him on a submarine that sinks to the bottom of the sea. Joe is heartbroken and leaves everything - his career, his girl - to join the Navy in hopes of killing some Germans.

Instead of fighting on the frontlines in Europe, Joe finds himself stationed in Antarctica. After an unfortunate incident with carbon monoxide and other accidents, he is stuck alone in perpetual darkness, going mad and waiting for relief to come in the spring. Meanwhile, Sammy gives up his alternative lifestyle and marries Joe's girl, Rosa. Rosa was pregnant with Joe's baby when he decided to high tail it out of the city. The book started to get interesting at this point. The final 100 pages, however, were a chore to read.

Joe returns to New York City, but tells no one. He finds his son and establishes a relationship with him. Eventually, he returns to the only family he knows: Rosa and Sammy. Rosa and Joe still have feelings for each other and act on them. Sammy confesses that he's gay. And the end concludes with everyone living happily ever after.

The 350-plus page build-up to all of this was rather disappointing. The book was so dark in the beginning, what with the looming invasion of Pearl Harbor, the mass murder of Jews in Europe. And then Joe goes off the deep end, only to return a dozen years later to reclaim his life. I look for one thing in a book, is it believable? Even if the whole idea behind the book isn't believable, I want the author to convince me (The Time Traveler's Wife is a good example). All in all, I'm just happy to be finished with every page of this book - all 636 of them - so I can move on!

23 June 2009


Take a gander at my list. I'm crossing things off left and right! I didn't end up applying for 25 jobs because I managed to find one before I hit that number! And because I found a job, I had to find Benny a daycare. Done and done and done. Very exciting.

I went into MHAC this morning to discuss start dates, salary, benefits, etc. I will be making slightly more than I thought I would, which is good. I also asked to work four 10-days. They said OK! Yay! All good things. Now I can spend Fridays with Benny and continue to facilitate the support group.

Although my life is going to change drastically in about three weeks, I'm getting excited for the future!

19 June 2009

Who Knew...

Life's path is not always predictable. Rather, it's never predictable. About a year and a half ago I found a support group for moms with postpartum depression. Today I was offered a job at the organization that sponsors the support group. Who knew that having postpartum depression would one day lead to a job.

After I stopped going to the support group (when I was "better"), the facilitators contacted me to help facilitate the group. I was happy for the opportunity. The support group was a major component in my recovery. When I saw that Mental Health America of Colorado (the nonprofit that sponsors the group) had an opening for a grants and publications coordinator, it seemed like a perfect match.

So, now I'm gainfully employed. I'll find out the specifics next week. Benny has a spot in daycare. I'm ready to start. Sort of. I'm having a hard time thinking about putting Benny in daycare full time. I hate the thought of not seeing him all day everyday. But, this will definitely be good for both of us and I certainly realize that I am lucky to have spent two full years at home with him.

13 June 2009


The Rocky Mountain Half-Marathon is tomorrow morning. I will roll myself out of bed at 6 a.m. Drive downtown Denver at 6:30 a.m. Wait in line until approximately 7:30 a.m. Then I will run the longest distance I've run since before Benny was conceived. I haven't run 13.1 miles since October 2006. I'm a little nervous, but I think I'll do fine.

That means I can cross off another item on my list. Hurray! Watch for photos of me at the finish line! I'm excited to finish a race and hug Benny!

09 June 2009

The Bear and His Sleep

I'm happy to report that Benny seems to be back on track in terms of sleeping. He still cries (for about two minutes, rather than two hours) when we put him to bed, but he's falling asleep faster and sleeping more soundly.

It turns out that he's had a sinus infection for awhile. I finally took him to the doctor for his cough last week. The cough has been lingering (getting better, getting worse) for about six weeks. It's really no wonder he hasn't been sleeping well. He was probably uncomfortable. So, he's on antibiotics for the next few days. And how he LOVES his medicine.

Although I hate to hear Benny "cry it out," I'm ultimately glad that we didn't start any new routines at bedtime. He can still entertain himself in his crib and put himself to sleep. Those are some important skills for an almost-two-year-old bear!

02 June 2009

The End of the Brother-in-Law Experiment

The Brother-in-Law Experiment is officially over. Nate's brother moved out yesterday. I won't lie, I'm happy to have my house back. I learned many things about myself over his six-month stay, some good, some bad. For example,

  • I don't think we'll be hosting anyone else for a semi-permanent stay in the near future. It didn't work out for us. It turns out that I like my space and I don't like it when someone isn't considerate about it. Perhaps I was a little too hard on Matt. But I do think it's reasonable to expect someone to clean up after himself, not leave old food in the fridge, empty the washer and dryer when he's finished.
  • I need to work on my communication skills when I'm frustrated. This is something I've needed to work on for awhile. Nate often bore the brunt of my frustration, which really wasn't fair.
  • Sometimes I need to step back and look at the larger picture. Nate and Benny really enjoyed having Matt here. That's worth a lot. Just because I wasn't so keen on it, I should have considered their feelings (as well as Matt's) more often.
  • And, finally, the Brown boys have a very different definition of "clean" than I do. Sometimes I think boys aren't "trained" to see messes like I and many other women are. That's one reason why girls' dorms smell better and look better than boys' dorms. That's one reason why women often find themselves doing more around the house. Men are more willing to live in messes than women (that's a generalization, I know) because they are never really taught to appreciate cleanliness.
Now that I have my house back, I hope to get everything organized by the end of the summer. Wish me luck!

01 June 2009

Some Thoughts on Grieving

Although this is happening less and less often, I still have thoughts of our little "no baby." This weekend we attended a birthday party. At this birthday party were at least four women who were expecting their second children. Two of the women had early fall due dates. Just like me. Although I am completely OK with what happened to me, sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I were still pregnant.

I'm glad I'm having these thoughts. They make me a little sad, but that's part of the grieving process. Although I am not religious, I do believe that things happen for a reason. I was not ready to be pregnant again (although I was getting there). After this whole experience, I know I want a second child and I will be ready to get pregnant again when the time comes.

Everyone handles these situations differently. I think we have moved on fairly quickly and I'm so thankful for that.