Book Review: Escape From the Land of Snows

I had the rare opportunity where there were no books in my "to read" stack, so I went to the

library and walked around just reading the backs of books and picked up a couple.  The following is one of the books selected during that particular visit to the library. 

Review of Book #45

Escape From the Lands of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero by Stephen Talty

I was so excited when I picked up this book because I am so intrigued by the Dalai Lama and was anxious to learn more about him.

Perhaps my hopes for this book were misplaced.   Rather than a book describing the war, I was anticipating a book about the Dalai Lama himself; hoping to learn about how the Dalai Lama's trip from Tibet to India changed and impacted his life, and perhaps a little more about the Buddhist faith.  I was somewhat disappointed to find that the book covered mostly the war between the "rebel" Tibetans and Communist China.   A great amount of time is spent on how important the Dalai Lama is to the people of Tibet and the desire they posses to protect him from the Chinese that are invading their city.  Jumping between different people involved in the war, the devotion to the Dalai Lama becomes very apparent.   The actual story of the Dalai Lama's journey is sparsely scattered among the other people fighting the war.   I don't feel that I actually learned much about how the journey impacted the Dalai Lama until the second to last chapter of the book.  

I did learn that a young man, twenty four years of age, who is leading the country has to stand up to Mao Zedong and his desire to spread Communism.  Growing up in a completely secluded, protected environment, the Dalai Lama has no idea that people can be evil and trusts anyone who is human.   His trip to India shows him that people can be evil, are very poor, and need help.   Compassion being something that has run deep in the Dalai Lama from early childhood, he begins to understand humans a little better.   He leaves Lhasa a rich man and enters India poor with "poor man's disease" or dysentery.   The escape to India allows him to change some of the traditions of Buddhism that he struggled with, for example separating government and religion.

Overall, I think if I had not had preconceived ideas of this book I would have enjoyed it much more.  Although I did learn some things, so it was not a complete waste of time.

Curious to know what you have been reading? 


Halloween Weekend

Our weekend full of festivities:

In costume, we headed to Haunted Hallways.   
We have never been before and had a great time.  

(They made up their own costumes this year; I thought they did a great job!)

After the Haunted Hallways, a snack was in order, 

 Today involved pumpkin carving.  

We have a theme this year from costumes to pumpkins!   

The kids did a great job picking out their own pumpkins and cleaning/carving by themselves!  



My New Year's Resolution in October

I am two weeks ahead of schedule. Considering the year that it has been and the changes to my schedule that I had not anticipated, I was so pleased to log my 44th book yesterday. At the beginning of the year, I set a goal for myself to read 52 books this year. A book a week. I knew it was an aggressive goal but it was something I wanted to try. I got the idea when my college roommate posted on Facebook that she had read 80 books in 2011. I knew that was unrealistic for me, but I wanted a challenge.

On top of the challenge in how many books to read, I wanted to challenge myself to expand beyond my favorite and preferred genre. This year I have read biographies/memoirs, self-help/self-esteem, culture awareness, best selling fiction, and classics that I have not read before and otherwise might not ever read.

There have been so many books that have touched me in different ways that I always wanted to write about and I never got around to doing so. I don't know if I will go back and write about each of them, but moving forward I would like to. I am not an expert review writer, but I would like to share them with you. At the end of the year, I will post my entire list of books read this year.


Unplanned and Much Needed

It is weekends like this that cannot be planned, rather, it just happens.   Without any planning, we had a weekend full of everything that the four of us needed.   There was time to read books, listen to music with headphones, play on the computer, art projects, and movies.   While most of the weekend was spent in pajamas, we did take time to go to the block party downtown, and the kids found some amazing pizza with real cheese! 

 We found some great finds on a trip to Target.

I spent a good portion of the weekend standing next to Mark in the kitchen making food for the week.   While this may not sound that exciting, it is a time when we connect.   We both love to find new recipes and create new meals and dishes.   This isn't usually time for deep or life changing conversations; it is a time that we bond and we can get on the same page as each other again.   I value this time, especially as busy as we have been lately. 

This weekend turned out a couple of great dishes:

Chicken Fried Rice

 (Quick, Easy, and gives me a gluten-free option 
for Chinese when I am really craving it!) 

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

 (One of Mark's favorites) 

Sunday afternoon is here.  Rather than the feelings of dread about the upcoming week, I feel relaxed and rested.   We have had a productive weekend that has been both quiet, and full of laughter.   Of course it helps that we also have a short three day week ahead of us followed by a four day weekend!  

Have a great week!


Dear Martha

Sunday night while we are getting everything ready and organized for the week, Mark is wiping the dining room table off and says more to himself than to anyone really, "I wonder why there is a white mark on the table by Addy's spot."

In the middle of packing lunches, I don't think much of it until, mid peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my breath catches, my heart sinks, I remember that my darling Addy was taking her fingernail polish off at the table earlier this evening.   Yep.   You know the rest of the story.   My dark stained dining room table has a nice white streak in it.

I had consulted with my mom, she agreed, the was probably not much I could do about the table.   Out of desperation, I went to the internet Monday night typed in my search and came up with results of refinishing the table, sanding and painting, and the worst, "Nothing can be done."

But wait..... one last message on a message board gave me hope:

mix mayo and ashes (fireplace or cigarette) and let sit for 15 minutes, then buff in. you can also spread mayo on it and then sprinkle ashes on top, and buff in. can repeat. sometimes it will make it go away, sometimes it makes it drastically less noticeable. its something about the fat content in it? some people add a little olive oil to the mix and leave it on for an hour before wiping off.

Hope this helps.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

I went out to Mark's grill pulled some ashes from the bottom, grabbed my bottle of Mayo with Olive Oil and began mixing.   Nothing to loose right?   

The first application was 20 minutes with some improvement.   
The second application was 30 minutes with quite a bit of improvement. 
The third application was 15 minutes (I was tired and ready for bed) with more improvement.  

Dear Martha, you have saved my table and my sanity.  Thank you for this weird but helpful advice!