Jonah Turns 13

Jonah turned 13 this year, and to celebrate we went to DisneyWorld. For the third year in a row my Favorite Conference Ever took place in Orlando, and this time the dates coincided neatly with Jonah’s birthday. Given that it was a pretty big birthday (13! How did that happen?!) and that I had been feeling guilty since the first time I went to this conference and didn’t take the kids, we decided to make a small family vacation out of it.

We left Friday night and took a red eye. The kids and I managed to sleep, but Eddy had such a hard time of it that Saturday was really difficult for him- he kept falling asleep on the rides! We got to the hotel, a different one than I had stayed in before, fairly early but weren’t able to check in to the hotel until the afternoon. So, we left our bags at the hotel and headed off for the Magic Kingdom.

It was cold. Very, very cold, and despite checking the weather forecast ahead of time we (read, I) hadn’t packed appropriately. So we shivered our way through Saturday (Jonah’s actual birthday), still having a really good time. Sunday was warmer and we decided to go to Hollywood Studios. The kids were really excited to see the Star Wars gang, and we rode on a few rides. I think that we all actually preferred DisneyWorld to Hollywood Studios, but enjoyed both.

Eddy and the kids left early Monday morning, and I spent the week at the conference: meeting Grumpy Cat, hanging out with friends, and learning all about social.

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To Be Read: Jane Porter

As part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I am working through my To Be Read shelf and tracking the books I read in an effort to be more mindful about my reading and more critical in my thinking.

I read two more books from my To Be Read pile, which means I’m (so far) staying on schedule. Both books, The Frog Prince and Mrs Perfect, are by the same author: Jane Porter. It wasn’t until I was about a third of the way through Mrs Perfect that I realized that is was a sequel of sorts to the Porter’s first book, which I also read, called Odd Mom Out. Now that I have the perspective of the adversary (the novel starts with a fairly antagonistic relationship between two of the main characters), I’d be interested in going back to read Marta’s story.

Both books are fairly fluffy and I don’t think I will keep either of them. Both books have main characters going through a period of tumult, followed by personal growth. I liked that The Frog Prince didn’t have what you would think of as a HEA (the main character finds happiness with herself, not a man, although romantic prospects are on the horizon). The main character in Mrs Perfect seemed too perfect, and the supporting characters of her husband, in-laws, most friends and kids weren’t fully fleshed out enough. Taylor, aka Mrs Perfect, is a strong organized sort who comes from nothing and is strong enough to overcome her problems through brute force of will, which is a trait that of course speaks strongly to me. Holly, from The Frog Prince, starts off weak and then grows stronger through discovering her inner strength. Again, the supporting case was only roughly sketched out, not fully developed, which makes the baddies fairly stereotypical although there are a few surprising moments. Religion makes enough of an appearance in both books that I suspect the author is a fairly devout Christian or has been in the past, although it’s more of a dog whistle and less “if you believe in God good things are going to happen to you”.

Odd Mom Out and Mrs Perfect both take place in Bellevue and East Side moms and Microsoft culture are big players. As someone who is still relatively new to Microsoft (compared to the people who have been there long enough to be Microsoft Millionaires) and fairly low down in the ranks (compared to the people who have been there long enough to be Microsoft Millionaires) the stories weren’t very familiar. On the other hand we have chosen to live in Seattle, away from all that, and I do intentionally stay away from those kinds of competition (like with the Room Moms at View Ridge).

These books both definitely fall into chick lit territory and remind me a lot of Jane Green’s earlier work: good reads, quick reads, reads that cheer you up while you’re reading them but that don’t necessarily stick with you. In short, I’m happy to have read both both books, but I won’t keep either.