This past week I was able to spend time with my family in Mammoth.
My parents had rented a cabin up by the Mammoth Lakes. It was a lot of fun, but one thing we did not expect was to see so much snow! Because of the longer, heavy winter, California is finally out of their drought (Hooray!). However, because of that same heavy winter, there is still snow in the mountains and on the hiking trails. I am not joking when I tell you that we saw people skiing down the slopes while we were trying to go hiking.
We went hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and we traveled up to the top of the slopes on a gondola. We played cards and board games. We cooked and ate some delicious food. And I was able to practice using our new Nikon camera (trial and error is sometimes the best teacher), especially photographing my adorable niece, Cassidy.
Thanks Mom and Dad for a great week in Mammoth!
Some of you already know this, but Andrew applied for some branch positions in California. Currently he is working at a phone site for Fidelity Investments in downtown Salt Lake City, but he has always wanted to progress to be a face-to-face financial consultant at a Fidelity branch. There are only 2 small branches in all of Utah (one in Provo and one in Salt Lake), so getting hired into one of those branches is not probable. California, however, has tons of branches all over the Las Angeles area, Orange County, and near/in San Diego.
Why only California or Utah, you ask? Why not go to other states that have Fidelity branches, such as Texas, Florida, or many of the small states on the East Coast? Well, while all those states may have job opportunities, we discussed long ago at the beginning of our marriage that family was really important to us. So we want to live close to family, and that means we will live in either Utah or California.
So my question these past few months has been: Will we stay in Utah, or will we be moving to California?
I will admit, I have cried and cried over the thought of moving to California. It was always in our plans, but I thought I had another 3 or 4 years to enjoy growing relationships with Andrew's family and working at the school I have come to love. But in the end, I know that Andrew's job satisfaction is really important, and I support him in his goals to progress in his career.
Andrew and I drove to California last week so that Andrew could meet with some of the managers in the California branches. Specifically, there were openings in the branches in San Diego, Brea, and Torrence. He was able to have some face-to-face interviews and get to know some of the managers. He was really impressed by the managers he met with, and he felt pretty good with the way he presented himself in the interviews.
Even with good interviews, Andrew did not get the jobs. When he asked for feedback from the managers on how he could prepare better for the next time, they all said basically the same thing:
"You had a great interview. Honestly, I don't have any suggestions; you are definitely qualified and confident enough for this position. However, we want someone who has their CFP (a big test/certification), and since you haven't finished your bachelor's yet, it will still be a while before you are able to get that. Come talk to us again once you have finished school."
So... we are staying in Utah
And there you have it. I am really proud of Andrew. It takes guts to put yourself out their to get a promotion. He did a great job at networking and presenting a strong first impression with these managers. Now he knows exactly what he needs to do to eventually get that job (aka: study hard and finish his college degree).
And, I get to enjoy Utah for at least a few more years. Woo hoo!!!
Alright, I have finished my first whole week of summer vacation, and with it I have finished 3 books.
Yes, you read that correctly....3.
I think my inner reader has been starving, so I relished in the time I had to finish a few books I had started previously. I plan on reading at least 1 book a week for the rest of the summer, but don't be surprised if I gobble up more books than that.
Ove is the epitome of a despicably grumpy old man. He pesters the neighbors about the outlandish rules of the street, gives dirty looks to stray cats, and hates anyone who is dumb enough not to drive a Saab. His wife has died, and Ove decides that he would much rather die than be without her. So he plans his suicide (multiple times) only to be detained by the idiotic interruptions of his incapable, loud, and obnoxiously friendly neighbors. The chapters bounce back to Ove's past and you get to see his experiences from when he was a child, to when he met his wife, to when he finally saw her pass away. Through it all, you grasp a deeper understanding of what experiences have shaped Ove, and despite it all, you grow to love his personality quirks. Then you get to meet Ove's neighbors and "friends", and you get to see Ove in a different light through his interactions with them.
Honestly, I can't tell you the last time I read a book with such strong character development. I laughed out loud. I cried silent tears. And I cried loud sobs (Andrew even rushed into the room to make sure I was alright). I was so moved by this book and the love I had for all the characters. Really, this is probably one of my new favorite books.
So, like I said before, go read it! Now!
Home by Harlan Coben
My mom gave me this book and told me that this is one of those good go-to authors she enjoys reading.
Win and Myron play a sort of Batman and Robin duo as they search for Rhys and Patrick, two boys who had been kidnapped at the age of 6 (But seriously, Win is a really rich , good looking guy who kills 3 guys within the first few pages in the book in order to save some kid from being hurt. And Myron is his sidekick best friend who always has his back and helps Win in the investigations. Sounds pretty much like Batman and Robin to me). The book centers around the kidnapping that took place 10 years earlier. Now, with new information, Win finds Patrick and vigorously continues his search for Rhys, who also happens to be his nephew.
I'd say the story was alright. It hooked me at the beginning, went pretty stale and boring throughout the middle, and then picked up again by the end (although I will admit that I totally guessed the ending). There wasn't much depth in the characters or story, but it made for an entertaining 2 days of reading.
Inferno by Dan Brown
Ok, I will admit it right now that I was deeply disappointed by this book.
Dan Brown books were some of my favorites in high school. I devoured Angels and Demons multiple times, and I really enjoyed reading the Da Vinci Code. So I bought this book with pretty high expectations (although I didn't actually like the last book, The Lost Symbol, either).
Inferno, along with all of Dan Brown's books, starts with intense action. All you know is that famous smybology professor Robert Langdon (who stars in all of Brown's books) is in the hospital with a gunshot wound and no recollection of what happened or why he is in Italy. In addition to his amnesia, Langdon has these strange dreams that allude to Europe's Black Plague and to "shades" (bodiless souls trapped between life and death) in Dante's work Inferno. Through a series of quick discoveries, Langdon realizes that he is searching for "Inferno", an unknown something that will squelch most of the population so that the world and civilizations can be reborn and overpopulation can be tamed.
It's a great start, but I feel like the drama just repeats itself relentlessly without much new information being added. Someone chases him, he escapes, he finds someone or something to help him on his quest, they get chased again, escape, find some hidden clue, get chased,....rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat...
One of the things I have really enjoyed about Dan Brown's works is the incorporation of real history, artwork, and locations within the book. While this book did talk about Dante's Inferno and works of art that related to that historic text, I feel like the book failed to use these resources in the wonderful amount of depth that Dan Brown has previously been able to accomplish in his other works. I kept waiting for my curiosity to come alive and to feel a real desire to know more about the historic works, but it just never came. And then the ending (which I will not tell you just in case you decide to read the book) didn't feel complete or resolved. It just felt like a political statement on a controversial topic. I was sorely disappointed.
Even though it is a thick book, I read it in just a few days. If you are wanting to read a Dan Brown book, I'd say, choose another one. This one was a dud.
So those are the books I have read so far, next I am reading:
Do you have any suggestions on other books I should read over the summer?
School is out, and now it's time to set some goals and expectations for summer. From my years of being a teacher, I have learned one important thing about myself: I like to have a schedule and stay busy. Summers provide a wonderful respite from the craziness of grading and lesson planning, but summers can often also cause me to get depressed because I feel purposeless. After a week, I start to feel lonely, and I ache once more for a good schedule and people to surround me.
Therefore, I feel it necessary for me to plan out a bit of my summer so that I can productively fill my days and keep the depression away.
Without further ado, here are a few of my goals for summer:
5 solid goals; I feel like that is a respectable and achievable plan. These goals will help me keep a stable focus through the summer plans of family vacation, girl's camp, and pool time.
Andrew and Maichael
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