Sunday, December 31, 2017

My favorite 2017 book reads

I hope this list is helpful to many.  I heavily rely on other's recommendations, so if you have any good books you've read recently, please let me know :)
Without any particular order, here are my favorite reads from 2017 --
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This book are the last written words from a young doctor who is diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Powerful reflection on life and death.  This book was also forwarded by another Indian descent author, Abraham Verghese, whose book Cutting for Stone is one of my most absolute favorite books of all time. 
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It seemed as if everybody and their mom was reading this book in hopes to understand how it was that Trump got elected as president of the US.  Interesting read of a young man who was raised in a highly dysfunctional society and of how he eventually got out of it.  If you have trouble reading a lot of cussing, feel free to skip this read, as it is saturated with profanity. 
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I just love everything this author ever writes.  He writes about things that need to be written, and does it in a simple, yet profound manner.  This book is no exception. 
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Like I said, I just love this author and anything he writes.  Simple and to the point.  The subtitle says it all, so I won't add anything else here, other than you just need to go read it :)
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If I could give an award to the #1, best, most favorite book of the year, this one would win the 2017 award (last year's award would go to What Alice Forgot).  It is just so good!  It covers a lot of hard topics without it taking an emotional toll on you, and it is such a redeeming story!  I read it in two days.  I just could not put it down.  And it made me so happy in the end.  Go read it.
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The basic premise of this book is:  "You are better off being white and guilty than black and innocent."  I love the work that Bryan Stevenson is doing today, so if nothing else, look him up on the Internet and make yourself familiar with his work, even if you never read the book.
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This was an absolutely beautiful story.  A young girl in the early 1900's is raped and gives her baby up for adoption.  I loved walking thru decades of life with her and learning what it's like to be a birth mother.  Grab some Kleenex, you'll need them!
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With contributors from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, I'd say this has been the best and most helpful book I've read on race-related issues.
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The story of a "prodigal daughter" and of the struggles that both her and her father face during that long, hard season.  Written in both a his and her voice, it is a good book because it gives you an opportunity to enter into each person's life and thoughts.  I'd even say it's a great "parenting" book.  And a quick, easy read.
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If you are anything like me and incredibly insecure about your relationships, I'd highly recommend this book.  I found it to be profound and liberating.
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A novel that brings to light the contributions that women gave during WWII.  As is the case with any WWII book, it is a hard read, but well-written, profound, challenging, and educational. 
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I just loved this book.  I read it in a weekend, all while neglecting everything that needed to get done in my home.  I grew up as a privileged Mexican, so reading about Reyna's world and her family struggle was amazing to me.  I'd especially recommend it to anyone with a Latino background or someone who wants to better understand the life and struggles of the illegal immigrant.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mexico Summer Visit part 6

Finally, my last post from our trip to Mexico.
Luis and Cristina invited me and the kids over to swim one afternoon.  This was so kind of them, and they served us so well while there.  The kids really enjoyed being in the kid pool with their new friends.

And they fed us pancakes for dinner!

Luis and the littlest ones.

I would often head off in the morning to go visit my aunt with Naamen alone and leave the kids with my mom.  Here they are waving goodbye to us, and us saying goodbye to them.

Mornings at Oma's house.

Naamen enjoying his mango paleta.

On our way to the airport eeeearly in the morning.  Saying goodbye to Gato.

Mexico Summer Visit part 5

I took a break from uploading these pictures, but I'm back again.
On my second Sunday in Mexico, I got to see a few more familiar faces.  This is just a *small* sample of them.  Here I am with Lucia, a good friend of mine while we lived in Mexico in our early years of marriage.

And here I am with Emmanuel, an *old* friend of mine, along with his lovely wife.  So fun to see them!

And then also with my former boss Lupita.

That Sunday afternoon my mom invited her husband's daughter and her son over to swim and play with the kids.  They had a wonderful time together, and even wrapped the day off with some cartoon time together late into the evening.

And then that night (yes, same night!) I went to visit a few family members.  I only have this one picture on my camera with my uncle and aunt, but there are other pictures out there with my other family members that I won't be adding here bc I don't have.

My mom took out my old flute for Emma to see.  She was so fascinated by it.  

A fun playdate I got to have was one afternoon with some old girlfriends of mine (as in elementary school old).  What a treat to get to catch up with them!

We were at a great playground!

Then another day my cousin and good childhood friend Sihan came over for a pool visit.  What a refreshing time this was for my soul!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mexico Summer Visit Part 4

One Saturday my mom's good friends Luis and Lynn invited us to their beach house for the day.  The kids took early naps and we headed to their place in the afternoon.

Here we are at the beach while we waited for our fish to get fried and ready to take to our friend's house.

Luis was a great "babysitter" while we were there and very much enjoyed the kids.

We got the kids in their swim suites and enjoyed the sand and ocean.

I stayed on the beach, but Oma was a happy companion to my little ones.

Late in the afternoon we got to see the fishermen come in with their bounty.  It was such a fun experience.  We happened to be there during the two-week period where fishing for sea cucumber was allowed, so that was fun to watch in itself.  As the fishermen got off, there was a truck on the beach with a large scale where the buyers were ready to purchase their goods.

We got to sit around the table with our friends afterwards and enjoy whole fried fish for dinner.  The best part about the meal for the kids was eating the fresh corn tortillas.

At one point during dinner time the kids started to "play" musical chairs.  And then I caught my boys loving on each other while they shared one chair.

And then as the day was coming to a close, the kids asked if there were any books to read.  Here is my lovely girly-girl engrossed in a magazine Lynn and Luis gave her.  What was funny was that as we were saying goodbye, the kids just walked out with the books, expecting to be able to take them home :)

And here is my mom with her best friend Lynn.  Right before I took this picture they were arguing with each other about who was going to keep the most food (No, YOU keep the food.  No, YOU keep the food).  Every since I was young, I have memories of these two ladies arguing about who's going to wash the dishes, who's going to keep the most food, amiga this, and amiga that, and I love you amiga, and thank you amiga.

Thank you for your hospitality.

The kids were wiped out by the time we got home.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mexico Summer Visit Part 3

Our boys got their "Mexican haircut" while visiting.  I normally cut their hair, but I was really wanting to give a local hair shop some business, so we ended up walking up the block from my aunt's house to the same barber shop my dad used to get his hair cut.  The man was very kind, and the boys did a wonderful job.

This was a fun afternoon with some friends at the pool.  

Valerie, Ines and me (and our babies).

Here are some pics of the children helping Oma pick some fruit from her tree.

This is probably one of the kids' most memorable things to do with Oma -- pick fruit from her trees.

And here they are with a neighbor girl playing with some playdoh.

Another picture of my aunt, but this time with one of her wonderful nurses with her.  She is so well taken care of.

And here they are with one of my cousins Velia, who between chocolate, mango treats and milk, made her way into their hearts.

(and I'll be done once again with pictures for now.  Maybe tomorrow I'll work on them again.)