The Times of My Life

Sunday, February 1, 2009


My sister has decided that she shouldn't have to wait her turn for Suggestion Saturday, since she is Vice President of the blog. So today kicks off Sister Sunday. The first Sunday of every month I'm going to read one of the books she has recommended. Today Alissa decided that Betty (who she describes as "kind of sassy") and I should spend some quality time together. So I ignored her all day to read the book she chose, and then kicked her off the computer while she was in the middle of reading her friend C's blog ( so I could put my entry up. That'll teach her to try to guilt me into reading a book of her choosing.

It's hard to believe that today marks one full month of blogging (or as Alissa puts it, "Today is your blogiversary.") One month down, 11 to go. I still feel really daunted by the thought of 11 more months of this though - so maybe I shouldn't dwell on how much time I have left. I don't feel that much different after working on this project for a month - and in the beginning I thought I would - so that's been a bit of a surprise. So far the only difference is that I have gotten pickier about what I'll watch on television. I don't have time anymore to watch stuff that isn't entertaining - it's sad to have to say this, but pre-blog I would have still watched stuff even if I found it kind of boring.

The thing that I enjoy the most about reading a book every day is that I feel like I am able to quickly move from one time period to another, one way of life to another, on person's thoughts to another - and it all happens so quickly that I feel like the reading experience has been more intense, I guess more vivid might be the best way to describe it. I love going to bed at night knowing that I'm going to be reading about something totally different tomorrow (except for of course when I got stuck in that non-fiction rut, but I'm working on bringing more variety to the blogging experience).

The other thing that I'm really enjoying is that, now that I'm writing this blog, I find myself searching out other people's blogs more - and I've run across quite a few great blogs that I would have never even thought to look for before.

Today's book is out of print, and my sister never keeps the book jackets (because, "they ruin the aesthetics of the bookshelf") - so I couldn't find a description of the book. But I think you can figure out the basic jist of it - the book covers Betty Fords life from the time she was born until just after she left the White House.

Betty describes childhood summer vacations at a cottage on Whitefish Lake, "There was a hotel near the cottage, Hart's Hotel, which featured picnic grounds. Being a baby who liked to wander, I'd find my way to the picnic grounds - there's a snapshot of me out there in my rompers, with the Dutch-boy bob many children sported in those days - and I'd stagger from table to table, and everybody had a cookie or a piece of cake or some ice cream for me. I just got fatter and fatter until finally my mother hung a sign on my back. It said, PLEASE DO NOT FEED THIS CHILD." - Betty doesn't really specify where her parents were during the feeding sessions, but I gather they weren't close by. Well no wonder people could have 14 kids back then, if all you have to do is stick a sign to their backs and then turn them loose. If Betty's mother had tried that in today's world they would have both ended up on the 11 o'clock news.

Fun facts about the White House -

  • The White House is the oldest federal building in Washington. - Anyone who paid attention in elementary school history class probably already knows that, but I didn't pay attention. I was busy trying to write short stories and arguing with my friend Heather about what we should name the imaginary classmate we pretended was sitting in the empty desk between us. I lobbied hard the whole year for Katelynn, but she wanted Alanna - and we never did come to an agreement about it.
  • John Adams was the first President ever to live in the White House (another fact I would already know by now if I hadn't wasted so much time on pointless crap in elementary school), and his wife used to hang her washing in the East Room.
  • Thomas Jefferson kept bears in a cage on the grounds.

I've read two kind of dark, serious books in a row, so tomorrow I'm definitely going to read something light and fun. I'm determined to shake things up with the blog more this month, and not read so many of the same kind of books over and over again. February is going to be a month for expanding my reading horizons.