Snapshots: Thinking, Reading, Doing and Snapping (Fall 2015)

The Snapshots post is back! Here’s a look at what’s been happening this fall.

Thinking and Doing …

This fall has been a whirlwind of activity. Sophie started second grade and has been immersed in homework and school activities, as well as soccer and Girl Scouts. I’ve been very busy with my work and teaching. And of course we had fun celebrating Halloween. It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is two weeks away!

The biggest fall activity we did was visit my sister and her family in West Des Moines, Iowa in October. My sister, Ellye, and her family moved to the Midwest four years ago. This is the first time we made the trip out. I loved seeing the beauty of a real fall! Colored leaves on the ground, pumpkins on porches, cold enough weather to wear coats and scarves — it was such a treat!

We visited an amazing apple orchard and pumpkin patch that rivals anything you can find in San Diego. We ate the Cracker Barrel (YUM!). Sophie had fun with her two cousins. And I got to spend some bonding time with my sister seeing my favorite singer, Mary Chapin Carpenter, perform in Des Moines. It was a great visit and the photos in the “Snapping” section of this post highlight our adventures.

halloween 2015

Reading …

I have to admit I’ve been a terrible reader since summer ended. I have a lovely stack of books on my nightstand (two stacks, actually), but I haven’t read nearly as much as I’d like. But I do have two novels I’ve read recently that I’d like to recommend to you.

white collar girl First up is White Collar Girl, by Renée Rosen. Of course I loved this book given my own background as a journalist and writer.

Here’s a description (from Amazon): Every second of every day, something is happening. There’s a story out there buried in the muck, and Jordan Walsh, coming from a family of esteemed reporters, wants to be the one to dig it up. But it’s 1955, and the men who dominate the city room of the Chicago Tribune have no interest in making room for a female cub reporter. Instead Jordan is relegated to society news, reporting on Marilyn Monroe sightings at the Pump Room and interviewing secretaries for the White Collar Girl column.

Even with her journalistic legacy and connections to luminaries like Mike Royko, Nelson Algren, and Ernest Hemingway, Jordan struggles to be taken seriously. Of course, that all changes the moment she establishes a secret source inside Mayor Daley’s office and gets her hands on some confidential information. Now careers and lives are hanging on Jordan’s every word. But if she succeeds in landing her stories on the front page, there’s no guarantee she’ll remain above the fold.

golden stateThe second book I enjoyed is Golden State, by Stephanie Kegan. This is such a fascinating read and I think Stephanie did a great job of making the characters so real. I feel like I’m actually spying on Natalie, the main character. I love the family dynamics aspect and I think so many of us can relate to the subject in some way or another.

Here’s a description (from Amazon): Growing up in the 1960s in one of California’s most prominent political families, Natalie Askedahl worshipped her big brother, Bobby, a sensitive math prodigy who served as her protector and confidante. But after Bobby left home at sixteen on a Princeton scholarship, something changed between them. Now that Natalie is happily married, with a career and two young daughters, her only real regret is losing Bobby.

Then, a bomb explodes in the middle of her seemingly ideal life. Her oldest daughter is on the Stanford campus when one person is killed and another maimed. Other bombings follow across California. Frightened for her family, Natalie grows obsessed with the case until she makes an unthinkable discovery: the bomber’s manifesto reads alarmingly like the last letter she has from Bobby. Unsure of whom to sacrifice and whom to protect, Natalie is confronted with a terrible choice that will send her down a rabbit hole of confusion, lies, and betrayals. As her life splits irrevocably into before and after, she begins to learn that some of the most dangerous things in the world are the stories we tell ourselves.

Snapping …

Here are some shots from our trip to West Des Moines, Iowa.

more leaves

Fun in the corn pitleah and sophie in corn pit

Corn kernel angel

Iowa corn pit

Sophie was so excited to run through the corn maze.

corn maze entrance

corn maze

corn stalk

Children of the corn

sophie and sam corn

Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!

pumpkin patch

Sisters in the pumpkin patch

sisters in the pumpkin patch

Lugging pumpkins

pumpkin lugging

John Deere tractor time

John Deere tractors

Mini tractor racing

tractor riding

Center Grove Apple Orchard in Iowa

center grove apple orchard

orchard sign

Funky gourds




Beautiful fall leaves in Iowa (no editing needed)

iowa leaves

Thanks for reading! So tell me, how has your fall been? What are you watching, reading, eating, cooking and doing?

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