The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Mohsin Hamid

A young Pakistani fresh out of Princeton joins a cut throat NYC firm.  9/11 happens into his first year which makes him question his motives.  Told from flash back as he is being questioned by an American in Pakistani – never quite certain what his current state is.  Interesting quick read. I just read that they recently made this into a movie – doesn’t make any sense how that can be given the nature of the novel.

PJH rating: ****

Crossing to Safety; Wallace Stegner

Two academic couples meet while they are starting as Instructors at U of Wisconsin in the 1930’s and become lifelong friends.  The novel, told from the point of view of one of the husbands, apparently very autobiographical, jumps around the decades starting and ending in the 1970’s during the death of one of the four.  Such great writing and story telling.  Very emotional.  Written in 1987 this was Stegner’s last novel, written when he was in his late 1970’s.  I’ve never heard of him – I wish I remember where I read to read this.  Brilliant.

PJH Rating: **** 1/2 (and 3/4)

Our Souls at Night; Kent Haruf

A 70’s year old widow knocks on the door of her neighbor, a 70’s year old widower and asks him if he would be interesting in sleeping over a few nights a week as she is lonely.  An interesting courtship / family dynamics tale ensues.  This was Haruf’s last novel before he died last year.  I enjoy his sparse novels, the simple language, and while this is not one of his best, it’s a nice quick enjoyable read.

PJH Rating: ****

Christmas 2014

Christmas went by in the blink an eye this year. Here’s some photos.
We somehow now have four different Christmas trees.  Tree#1: we toyed with the idea of buying a fake tree for our main tree… but can’t quite do it.  Our tree looked great this year.
Tree#2: Snowman tree
Tree#3: restoration hardware one with silver balls and icicles
#4: table top metal with lots of little silver and red ornaments
I found a real birds nest in the tree when I was putting the lights on. Means 2015 is going to be an excellent year.
Christmas blooms at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens
Sophia turned 13 on 12.13.14
Claire and Sean had a Christmas Sweater Party at their house. Sean won!
Soupy had his ice sculpture party at his house
I took hardly any pictures on Christmas Eve and not a one on Christmas Day. This one about sums up our Christmas Eve at our house with 28 people. Crazy but fun and nice as usual. On to a great 2015!

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2011

Clambake 2014

better late than never…a few pics

My parents annual clambake was over a month ago on a picture perfect mid-October afternoon
Connor was home on Fall break
JP and Richy
It was homecoming night for Grace. Her date was homecoming King and picked her up at the Clambake.
Grace and her friends taking pictures in front of everyone
sisters
girl cousins
Grace’s friend Nicole was homecoming queen and Aunt Evie was Euclid homecoming queen 50 (?) years ago… so of course we had to take a picture.
My parents have perfected the Cleveland clambake and theirs is the best in town.
John checking out the bake
Lets eat! (what a backdrop)

Clambake 2013

Clambake 2012

Clambake 2011

Uncle Tom’s post of Clambake 2014

Sausagefest 2014

We had a sausagefest for Jack’s birthday this past weekend.  Italian, Sicilian, bratwurst, slovenian, polish boys, kilbasa, hot dogs… sausagepalooza
Courtney and John
Claire and Grace
Kathryn, Courtney and Kirsten
Bernie was there of course
The girls escaping from the boys and eating on the front lawn… Emily, Shea and Sophia
Happy Birthday Daniel, Jack and Mary

The Cunning Little Vixen

Jack and I attended the opera “The Cunning Little Vixen” put on by the Cleveland Orchestra at Severence Hall last week – well actually two weeks ago – I’m a bit behind here.  It is a Czech opera about the lives of foxes in the forest.  Very deep.  This original Cleveland Production was multi sensory in that there were huge screens behind the full orchestra with beautiful, stylized animation of the story.  Live actors/singers also were on a small stage in front at times and most bizarely occasionally poked their heads through the screen in holes that were like trap doors.  Truly crazy but I thought it was beautiful. I loved it. It received great reviews , also one from NPR, and even The New York Times.  The Cleveland Orchestra is amazing.

Picture from The New York Times

 

Cincinnati: April 25-27, 2014

Friday, April 25th, 2014

We spent a fun filled weekend last week in Cincinnati celebrating Jack’s graduation from University of Cincinnati…  hurray!  Sophia, Mom, Dad and myself took off from Euclid on Friday around 12:30, following Courtney and Grace who departed the previous day on a two-day college visiting trip to Wooster, University of Dayton, Miami of Ohio and University of Cincinnati.  Claire and Sean also hit the road about 30 minute after us after working for a half of day.  It was an awful drive through Ohio with nice weather but several standstills due to accidents and heavy traffic in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.  We were happy to arrive at the Embassy Suites across the river in Kentucky around 5:45 just in time for Manager’s Reception cocktail hour – everyone’s favorite part of staying at an Embassy Suites – where Jack, Courtney and Grace were already chilling out.  We had a great time imbibing for almost two hours celebrating with Jack and happy that everyone was together.  We decided to bring a picnic with us for dinner that night as it is a bit of college graduation tradition and it worked out great as we booked an extra large suite again for one of the rooms that comes with a bar and a large table.  Mom and Dad brought brisket and fixings that we warmed up in the microwave and I made and packed cole slaw for the brisket, a tortellini salad with roasted peppers and peas, a tabbouleh salad and a fruit salad.  It worked out great and everything was superb.  After dinner around 9:00 I talked the kids into walking across the beautiful Roebling bridge and walking a few blocks to Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati to get Graeters for dessert.  It was a beautiful warm evening, the Ohio River was calm and the Graeters was good as always… although the line was crazy long.  We managed to stay up a bit longer and play black out – our usual vacation card game.

sibling reunion in Kentucky
Dad and Sophia enjoying our little corner in Kentucky.
Mother and Son
S E L F I E ! ! !
very excited for the chips and dip
…what a selection
group portrait getting ready to go over the bridge
The Roebling bridge is a beautiful suspension bridge almost 140 years old. It predates the Brooklyn Bridge, which it closely resembles, by 30 years.

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

We woke up kind of late and had a leisurely Embassy Suites breakfast – myself perfecting the bagel and bacon and cream cheese combo.  We went on a mid-morning field trip to Party Source about a mile down the road.  It is a huge liquor store with aisle after aisle of party supplies, wine, beer and liquor.  It was pretty amazing.  We got a case of wine,  Dad got a case of Black Velvet and a case of wine and Sean and Claire loaded up also.  What a place.  We then went back to the hotel and got ready to go to the commencement at UC.  Jack was only able to get five tickets so Claire, Sean and Sophia spent the day at IKEA and Jungle Jim’s – a huge specialty grocery store that they ended up spending two hours in.  We dropped Jack off at his house at 12:30 and parked on campus.  We walked around a bit as it was an amazingly beautiful afternoon – high 70’s and sunny – and avoided going into the Arena where we knew we would be sitting for a long time.  We ended up going in at 1:00 to get seats as it was filling up.  The spring commencement was Cincinnati’s largest ever so it was packed to the rafters.  The ceremony was almost three hours long… very long.  The speakers weren’t very good either and they handed out several thousand diplomas.  Yikes.  We were happy to be there though.  We hung out on the green outside after the ceremony taking pictures. Claire, Sean and Sophia met us there so we were able to take family pictures.  We met Rachel’s family afterward outside also.  We had dinner at a place called Bella Luna on the south east side of Cincinnati. I researched places about a week ahead of time and it looked good… and they took a reservation for 15 at 6:00 so it was a keeper.  We had a really nice three hour long dinner eating lots of good food and celebrating the graduates.  The menu was Italian and we splurged and all ate lots of good stuff.   We said our goodbyes to Rachel’s family and Jack and Rachel as we were driving straight home after breakfast.

At the Party Source for our morning field trip
Kid in a candy store
University of Cincinnati has a beautiful campus and has many great buildings and spaces
soaking in the sunshine procrastinating going into the field house.
Jack is one of the ones walking into the row
I was taking a picture of the screen in the background as they were posting everybodys #UHGrad2014 twitters and mine was on the screen
packed to the rafters
happy graduate
happy parents
happy grandparents
Grace and Jack
la famille
les enfants
Jack and Rachel
table #1
table #2 (the cool people’s table)

50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

The happy couple… definitely not looking old enough to be married for 50 years

Saturday was my parents 50th wedding anniversary and they threw a great party at Pine Ridge Country Club in Willoughby.  The party was great fun.   It was awesome to see family and friends who we haven’t seen in a long time.  The food was great, the venue was very nice and all had a good time.  It was great to be able to celebrate my parents.  CHEERS.  I wish I took more pictures… I always do… here are a couple.

Richy gave a toast on behalf of all us siblings and he did a GREAT job!
Claire gave a toast on behalf of all the Grand kids. She was very poised and a natural. Very proud.
Claire called all the Grand Kids up and they each said a few words about why their Grandparents are special. It worked out really great and they did a good job.
My Dad said a few words. Another natural. The public speaking gene skipped me over.
Some of my Holzheimer cousins who we never get to see too often anymore
Courtney, Maggie, Kathryn and Kathy
John, Mary, Pat and Jim
Meg and Kathryn
divas
dance floor action
Vince
Emily and Kathryn