We made it into Oakland, CA last night around 10.30pm, welcomed by our friends Craig and Lora Burnett. Good to be back. We were met with nice, cool weather (in the 50s!) by time we got to their house. That was a nice relief from the 113+ temperatures we were driving through in the desert.
The trip is kinda over. For the most part anyway. There is relief and grief in each sigh I let out. But it is time for a new season of life.
On this trip (by that, I mean this last month's trip from Oakland-Minneapolis-DC-Tennessee-Dallas-Oakland), we listened to some great books on our iPod. (Thanks Darin.) Some reflections...
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
This was a great book. Wow. Scholosser details the socio-historical story of the rise of fast food in America. He gives context that helps to understand the country's shift in diet over the last 50-60 years. He then goes on to tell about where the food and flavors come from. If you really enjoy fast food, perhaps best not to read this book. But if you have a gut-level hunch that something just doesn't seem right and that there is some work needing to be done around the fast food industry (from regulation to boycotting to advocating other options to holding corporations accountable as consumers), this will be a good read.
I'll tell you...a lot of it deals with Colorado Springs, and that just so happens to be where we began listening to the book. Interesting how migration patterns have such huge impact on our world.
Plan B by Anne Lamott
Anne is always enjoyable for her ramblings, rants, and subtle wisdom. This book was fun and thoughtful. I have heard many a person dismiss the book as a rant on the current Administration. It does have a good deal of that, but she attempts to make sense of it amidst her spiritual journey of forgiveness and loving one's enemy.
Some parts of it were a bit too 'religious-y' for me, but that's just my taste.
I liked the first one of these better, but this one was a nice read (er, listen).
Living History by Hilary Rodham Clinton
Not having been very politically awake during the Clinton Administration, I found this book very informative. It's very well-written (big suprise) and articulate. I really appreciated the approach that was taken...it made The First Family seem very normal and real...which was perhaps the books aim.
I grew up in a family that was deeply suspicious of the Clintons, so I couldn't help but listen with guarded ears. Still, Hilary's storytelling was very disarming. And while I don't think she'd necessarily get my vote for President (as she is very pro-war for a Democrat), it definitely caused me to like them more.
I am glad we listened to this book. For all the crap of that Administration, the Bush Administration makes the previous one seem altruistic and nearly perfect...well, maybe not exactly, but wow.
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I have had a growing interest in economics, so I thought I would like this book for that reason. But the authors just explain economics as tools, not a disciple, and then sought to use those tools to measure other sociological phenomena.
The questions they raised were both entertaining and enlightening...and the answers they came up with (by reading the data) were equally enthralling (at times).
We're in Oakland this week, looking for places, finishing projects, meeting with the midwife, looking to the future.