Book Review: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and There Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics


The Boys in the Boat

Photo from Goodreads

A few weeks ago I went to visit the Brother in Chambersburg where he moved. I decided that I should not waste the three hour drive and I would try out audible. I decided all of this about 10 minutes before I was set to leave. So I made a mad dash to download the app and sign up. Then I needed to pick my free book. I surfed through the main page and The Boys in the Boat came up. I had it on my Amazon wishlist but had never pulled the trigger and now I could listen to it for free?! #Score I hit the download button and was on my way.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and There Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics written by Daniel James Brown

This book sucked me in from the first moment. The narrator was  Edward Herrman and as soon as he started reading I was taken away. I felt every single moment of Joe’s childhood pain and I was so mad for him. I listened as he explained some of what was going on in Berlin leading up to the Olympics and about the relationships between key officials. I was on the Washington Sound as they rowed together for the first time. And I was cheering them on over and over again as they raced bigger schools with more money, As they raced with class and backbone, stregnth and passion that living on the frontier during the Depression can give you. I cant put into words how highly I not only reccomend this book but get the audio book. I cried a few times, felt happiness, anger, elation so many feelings. GO GET THIS BOOK. You won’t regret it.

The story focuses mostly on Joe Rantz’s story. Joe’s entire leading up to the 1936 Olympics is a trail. Nothing ever is easy, his life is always sad, he is always hungry and dirt poor. But Joe is never negative about his situation. He just keeps on. His early life certainly led him to being the excellent rower that he becomes.

There has always been something beautiful to me when it comes to patriotism. When the people of Seattle come together to make sure there boys get to Berlin I wept. At the end of the book when you learn about where these boys go, what they do I had chills. I have not enjoyed a book like I enjoyed this one in many many tears. You can find the Audible version and the Kindle version here. I still highly recommend listening to this book.

Also, I’m hoping to read 52 books this year and January I did pretty well with that goal. I read 5 books last month! I need to read more. And cell phone less. Instagram, Facebook they’ve really become a problem.


Baby blanket

As I’ve referenced in all of my recent posts I have recently fallen in love (with a 5 month old) named CB (for internet purposes). Anyway his Momma asked me to make him a baby blanket because he didn’t have any that were made just for him (he has an older sister and she has a shelf full of blankets. I know this because after she tucked me in with all of them I had to fold them and put them away. #2yearsoldsaremessy)

Well I trotted over to Ravelry (the mecca for knitters and crocheters everywhere) and started looking for the perfect pattern. After the search began I understood why no one had made this kid a blanket. They were all terribly girly. Finally I stumbled upon the Baby Tree of Life Throw. Here is the original pattern which I still felt was a little girly.  Well in looking through the MANY projects that had been completed I found someone who had changed the pattern a bit and published it. It’s here. Much more my speed.

So I trotted up to Michaels on Christmas Eve with the Brother to get the yarn (even though I had Christmas things that needed finished. I could not ignore the siren call of a wee little baby blanket). I decided to use Vanna’s Choice yarn witch is 100% acrylic (#GASP) I am a yarn snob so this was a hard decision to make. I like to use the very best. But I know how busy Mom’s are and I know how often CB pukes. So it needed to be machine washable. (But lets hope Mom doesn’t put it in the dryer all the time.)

Fast forward about a month and I have finished blanket that has been washed and blocked. I was finally able to use my Knitpicks blocking wires (here is a video showing how to use them).

Now I’m onto the Downton Abbey Cardigan for myself. Because I deserve a new cardigan.
This is the big sister. She’s a diva in the best way possible. She also wormed her way into my black heart.

Whole30 a day in food.

I am not doing the perfect Whole30. I am as close as I can be. 2 weeks in I finally gave up the old habit of tracking in my Weight Watchers tracker #scary #gasp And I’m still working on my scale addiction. And I can’t seem to only have the 3 large meals a day. I like a little snack. But I’m getting better about that also. It isn’t everyday and I try and make sure it’s actual hunger and not bored at my desk eating. I don’t think that anyone has the perfect Whole30. But that’s OK. This (for me) is about learning about myself and losing weight. (I’m very happy with the scale this far. But don’t tell Melissa Hartwig because she #legit scares me when she gets into her #realtalk)


PS. Mellisa Hartwig liked my photo #dying

Anyway I’ve started everyday with a hash of some variety or another. I big heart eggs. They are my favorite thing so I’ve been putting an egg on top of a hash for years. Whole30 makes me experiment a little more (more freedom, honestly then I get with Weight Watchers.) My favorite thus far was shredded potato, brussel sprouts, onion, garlic and some leftover chicken fried up together. Two eggs on top and I was set for HOURS! #putaneggonit

Best lunch so far was leftover chorizo, sweet potato nachos. #nomnomnomnom #sogood I cooked chorizo low and long and got  this lovely ground beef texture. I sliced sweet potato into thin coins and roasted them at 400° for around 45 minutes with coconut oil and salt. Then assembly. Lots of lettuce, coins on top, chorizo, gaucamole, really good salsa. NOW EAT IT ALL!! It was amazing. Chorizo is something I don’t generally eat when I’m tracking because it is #allofthepoints BUT I love it. So I’ve enjoyed having it while on this plan.

Favorite dinner was probably the Seared Salmon Benedict from The Whole30 cookbook. I have the book and read it BUT they happened to post the recipe on there website. Mine was not as pretty. I used mixed green instead of arugula. My hollaindaise was perfect and then it separated. But it still tasted good.

Notable other moments. New Years day dinner was Whole30 compliant. Other then the rolls a guest brought and the ice cream that I served but did not eat for dessert. Also, homemade mayo is the easiest thing to make. And delicious. Suddenly chicken salad not that gross. And my new favorite dessert our dates and almond butter. Get ready for a tutorial on that. Because super easy and YUMMY!

I’m almost 20 days into Whole30 and I’m thrilled with the decision to try it out. I’ve decided to do another longer round going from February 17th until Easter. I had initially planned to start on Ash Wednesday but I have a few short trips planned that I don’t want to stress so much about food. Also, February 1 I am going to have sushi. Lot’s of sushi. If you’d like to join I’m happy for the company. It will be a very expensive dinner though. ha.


At work recently it has been brought to my attention that I am a negative Nancy. I’ve been called a lot of things (many of the words can’t be used on a website that a child might find!) but this word for some reason hurt me deeply. It has certainly caused me to look inwardly. Am I negative? Do I look on the bright side? Do people not want to be around me because I am a negative part of there life? So I pondered. Complained to some of the people I love most in the world. Rearranged my desk at work. Hid in the bathroom at work and teared up a little bit. Yep. This comment said in what was supposed to be a funny manner (around 5 times!) has bothered me so much that I’ve resorted to hiding in the bathroom for a few minutes. #awesome #Ihatebeingagirl

So the question. Am I negative? Well after much soul searching I think I am. Katie, almost 30, single, career oriented, negative. I didn’t like this realization. I thought that I was dealing with everything OK. I mean after my surgery I had some MAJOR open heart surgery blues. But I got through them. (Without medication because my cardiologist and primary doctor could not agree on anything for me to take that wouldn’t jeopardize my heart.) My mom died at 51, 15 months ago. My friends moved away. The Brother moved. Mr. E dumped me. Work is frustrating. Woe is me. So yes I’m negative. But I am going to work on it.

But where do I begin? #Scratcheshead I’ve started to read a daily devotional on being positive. But I read it before bed. Maybe I should read it when the author intended when I wake up. Start the day with something positive. Instead of getting up and immediately starting breakfast spend 5 minutes reading something positive.

Work on the words I use at work. Be more positive and less of looking at the negative side. BUT I will still be real. A lot of what I do has been tried before my tenure as the Elm Street Manager and while I’ve been in this position. If I think/know from experience something isn’t going to work I will still say that I’ll just work on saying it in a more positive light.

All that being said I am a work in progress. I feel kind of negative about most things. Especially at work. All that is keeping me going some weeks is the Farmers’ Market. And for awhile the Winter Market was doing dismally and I was pretty negative about that also. *sigh* I’m the worst.

Any ideas of what I can do to be more positive?! Come on internet DO NOT LET ME DOWN! 😉

I feel like this is the saddest most miserable post ever. So I will post something good. I’m going to NYC in a few weeks to see the Vikings Show at the Discovery Center with a friend. I’m also going to see my beloved friend Erin. I also have good health, good friends, good family and #TheFra. I am a lucky person. Even if I sound ungrateful. (I’ll work on that also. It seems I have a lot to work on ha.)


snappeI was never a fan of Professor Snape. Never trusted him. But Alan Rickman. Well I always loved him. Beloved actor. Kind face. Excellent baddie. There are some celebrities that pass away that break my heart. This is one of those times. I don’t know if I am so bothered because of all the other negative things that I have going on or if it really is just because he was so much a part of my life growing up. Because you see, yes Alan Rickman was in many, many movies that I love but from the age of 11 until now (18 years if you are counting) he was Professor Snape. Harry Potter took me far away from Scranton. Transported me to England. Made me a witch. Gave me a whole different world to hide in when things were to much in my life. They are books and movies that I turn to in the darkest of times. I think that’s why this hurts me so much. Because it’s like I’m losing a teacher. Ha. Now that I sound crazy here here is a post from the Bloggess. She gets me. “I Can’t”

A little montage from CNN on some of his more famous movies. CNN

Dear Alan, “Remember Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” (J.K. Rowling) -Katie, a big fan

Checking in.

It seems as soon as I said that I would recap my heart surgery I wanted to stop writing this blog again. See I want to write it all down but Mr. E was a large part of that recovery and I know I can’t leave him out of the posts but dredging up his taking care of me and having to focus on the end of the relationship is hard. So I am going to table that post for when I’m not so #emotional.


Tea for my raw throat

13 days into the New Year I haven’t done anything all that exciting. Mostly my life has revolved around eating (I cook ALL THE TIME) work. Whole30 is going really well. I’ve eaten out once and I was very careful and ordered the safest things on the menu that I could find.  I’ve also eaten at friends houses and they have been really wonderful about letting me be a pain in the butt and say I can’t have this, this and that. #luckygirl I haven’t felt any of the magical changes that Whole30 promises BUT my size 16 jeans (from Old Navy) are currently on me. I’ve missed skinny jeans so on Sunday when I could get these on I was thrilled. I knew my weight gain was out of control when I started wearing boot cut jeans. Also, don’t get me wrong. The jeans are tight BUT I can sit and and cross my legs. That’s enough for me! 🙂


Chorizo nachos. Holy moly!

I’ve been eating a TON of veggies, meat and fats on this diet. It’s been a lot of fun to just drop a hunk of Ghee or coconut butter in the pan and not have to put the skillet on the scale and make sure that I’m only having 6 grams at a time. It’s also been fun to have more then 3 ounces of protein at a time. I will say that I am missing cheese and rice a lot. And my weekly (or 3x’s a week) sushi visits are missed. #thestruggle


Typhoid CB

I started the new year with a cold that was given to me by my most favorite baby CB. He is the love of my life. And sick or not I needed to kiss his cheeks. A decision I regret after the week I spent sick as a dog. But I’d probably do that same things again. 😉

Have you seen Casablanca?! I’m sure you have. Everyone has seen the movie except me. The problem was I’m a hopeless romantic who needs  a happy ending. My life is tragic enough without adding depressing endings to the mix. Anyway, I finally saw it and I was on the edge of my seat. Wonderful movie. I want to watch it again and see what I missed. #somuchgoingon #Mustnotpee I also almost cried at one point. There is something about patriotism that brings tear to me eye.


Road trip to see the brother.

Last night I went to a friends house for dinner and she made a magical salad and venison stew. All whole30 approved AND I made a knitter! 🙂 Really she knew how to knit and needed an update BUT I still get her started and I’m excited to teach her how to purl next. I love hoisting my hobby on people. Although, teaching is not something I’m great at.

Thanks for listening. Maybe I’ll do something fun with interesting pictures soon. For now it’s windy and cold and I want to curl up with a book.image

New Years Eve. Or the party that dissolved into anarchy.

I wrote a very nice blog post this morning and promptly deleted it when I went to add photos. *sigh* Happy New Year to me.

Last night I spent a wonderful evening at a friends house (I’ll call her N here). N, A and myself enjoyed a lovely dinner. Loud laughter, good conversation, wonderful food and excellent drinks. It was a perfect way to end 2015. On a high note and with plans to make 2016 better then 2015!wp-1451651410080.jpg

I want to make a note here that N is a vegetarian and is proof that vegetarians can eat interesting food that do not involve hip hugging pasta. ha. She also loves mushrooms which makes her A number 1 in my book. #ballsofFiber #myfavorite

We started the evening off with a warm brie dish that N and A discovered in Washington state last spring. It is incredibly complicated to make. 1 piece of brie (I like it with the rind) in a baking dish, pour honey and slivered almonds on top. Pop into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes and serve whatever lovely bread you have handy.wp-1451652181699.jpg

For the main course we had an onion tart, roasted cauliflower with kalamata olives and N’s famous salad. First the onion tart is from a book called Vegetable Literacy and the cauliflower was from  Epicurious (I hope) Now N’s salad. This is my favorite thing that she makes.

N’s Tarragon Salad

In a salad bowl mix greens of your choice, a roma tomato, scallions and thinly sliced radish. Pour in tarragon vinegar to taste, olive oil and Celtic sea salt.wp-1451742164372.jpg

Now dessert. That was a truly special thing. N made a Banbury cake from a SHAKESPEAREAN recipe! The book is called Shakespeare’s Kitchen. I highly recommend the book. The recipes in the book look amazing. Anyway, the cake was a spice cake with a currant puree on top. Amazing.wp-1451651410069.jpg

Now onto the alcohol. I did not drink for around 2 years. Desperately trying to lose weight, liver problems. It just wasn’t worth it to have rum and diet coke at the bar. And then there was a this exhibit at the Everhart Museum in town and it was all about cocktails. And I was fascinated. And I discovered that really good booze is totally worth the points. Also, I am not 21 anymore. I have to cap at two or three drinks or I have a headache the next day. #old We started the evening with a Stormy Morning moved onto a Dark and Stormy and capped the evening with one of my new favorite drinks Aviation. I am converted to the lovely thing that is Creme De Violette. #Sogood And the Stormy Morning #candy

I was home in bed on NYE by 11:45 and reading. Which was a great way to ring in the New Year. Probably not the fastest way to meet a man but blah men are work. And after the last date I went on — well I may just give up. But that’s a story for a different day. As of publishing I’ve finished day one of Whole30 which I suppose isn’t something to be that proud of BUT cooking New Year’s day dinner for your family and not eating ice cream or cookies is something to rejoice.wp-1451651410078.jpg

So here I am looking to 30 and hopefully being a healthy version of me! Happy New Year! Let’s do this!