Shooting an Elephant - Goodreads review

Shooting an Elephant (Penguin Modern Classics)Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My dad, who is in China, shared a picture he took of an elephant... grand creatures which are ugly in a beautiful sort of way. Along with the photo, Dad suggested reading Orwell's Shooting an Elephant "to further our education."

It is a short essay written about a personal experience by Orwell. He is a police officer in Burma caught in the middle of a triangle of contempt: against the natives who resent the oppressive reign of the British and thus mock Orwell, against the British for their tyranny and against himself for his struggle of conscience versus reputation. Orwell honestly exposes his weakness and in just a short story teaches us about the evils of imperialism, the loss of freedom, resentment, prejudice and decision-making.

Orwell gives enough foreshadowing to predict the outcome, but it still was disturbing. It roused emotion. But then, that is the sign of good story / writer, isn't it?

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Royals versus Fishers

photo credit: art union

I spent three hours of my life watching THE wedding.

Normally I wouldn't waste my precious time on such remote things, but since I have now had the experience of planning a wedding, I was more interested....uhh ......you know.... from a technical point of view.

Okay.... that part about normally not wasting my time on such things may be a little fib. But then, if I admit it's a fib, then it isn't a fib anymore is it. It's a fabricated figment of a fib foregone (aka confession).


I rather enjoyed the extravaganza and found it to be quite a lovely affair (read with English accent to get full effect). I was grateful to be privy to watch the whole thing. After all, did Jennifer Lopez televise her wedding for the world? See what I mean?

It was a thrill to see how Princess Kate copied Daisy's idea to keep her dress simple, classic and reminiscent of an enduring icon. As you may know,  Daisy patterned her dress after the glamorous Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (1957).

Kate chose Grace Kelley. Both classics are excellent choices to accentuate a small waist and to help the bride, rather than the dress, be the **star**.

By now I'm sure everyone's had just about enough of this whole bloomin' whipsnittle, but I am still throwing in my five shillings' worth. For my posterity's sake. Here are my five favorite parts of the wedding, besides the obvious tender moments like the double kiss; stolen glances; William steadying his bride out of the carriage; the calm, composed and pleasant Kate, etc. And come to think of it, the things I will list are, to some degree, all things that bring a sense of realism to the wedding.... reminders that although they have titles and wealth, royal people are still like all of us in many many ways.

They still have to endure the obligatory family photos. And they still pee, though this has yet to be confirmed by any of my sources. (BTW, did they just rent those children? Who are they?)

_______________________ * ______________________ 

Finally, without further long-winded adieu, here are my top five things in no particular order:

1. The Sneak Peek

Prince Harry couldn't resist looking back to glance at the bride then whispered the verdict to his brother, William. I loved this! So brotherly. I bet at the bachelor party William cornered Harry and said, "I double dog dare you to sneak a peek and tell me what she looks like."

2. The Ring Wrangle

William ran into a little speedbump getting on the ring. Yes, even princesses have big knuckles.

3. The Slick Hat Trick

photo credit: LA Times
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie arrived at the ball with a giant ugly step-sister----ish chip on their shoulder.... er...I mean forehead. Since their mum wasn't invited to the wedding, I felt like this hat business was a passive-aggressive trick to somehow retaliate.

I just feel badly for Philip Treacy who is an incredibly creative designer.  I hope his reputation won't be tarnished because of his hat designed to be a:

a huge fondant-like ribbon
a toilet bowl seat
a large IUD

which would be wonderfully [more] appropriate at the Moulin Rouge. Although Treacy is getting tons of free publicity. So this is probably bank.

And don't worry. Bea has some support. Someone had this to say on the FB page Princess Beatrice's ridiculous Royal Wedding hat: "I do respect Bea for recycling and wearing her grandma's 1961 theatre coat. {*stifled giggles*}" 

I just love the humor that's coming out of this gutsy move.

4. The Tree Trade

photo credit: CBS News
I loved, loved, loved the use of the 20 maples and 2 hornbeam trees lining the aisle instead of ridiculous amounts of flowers. Word on the street is that every choice was deliberate and care was given to the symbolism and meaning of selected flowers and trees. The English field maple symbolizes humility and reserve, an endearing statement from a commoner entering a completely crazy new lifestyle, but wanting to maintain her roots and sense of self. The hornbeam signifies resilience. The trees were also reminiscent of Kate's home which is situated on an avenue lined with trees. Kate wanted it to be English, natural, seasonal and ethically conscious. Very cool!

5. Pippa Longstocking

She took my breath away. Pippa worked it... using this opportunity to flaunt what she's got, and she got the world's attention. The net is abuzz about the beauty of Pippa Longstocking (the nickname I gave her for that awesome long stockingesque dress). Enriching our life requires us to seize the moments. Pippa showed us how. Carpippa Diem!

_______________________ * ______________________

Overall, THE wedding was all very tasteful and beautiful. Though there is nothing simple about Westminster Abbey or the ceremonial robes worn by the priests, there was a very understated elegance - like feel to it. And that, for me, was the WOW factor.

Funny...that's just how our wedding was going to be.


Except less praying. And we were having Jordan Almonds and frappé. Unfortunately for them, I didn't see any signs of those in the palace.

Keep swimming,
Ms. Fish

PS: I loved the Queen's springy yellow dress!! Joy Behar, you're a bah humbug.
PSS: And I bet the ceremony priests could rock a Neil Diamond song! I am in love with their voice.

POST Publishing Addition:
One of my other favorite moments was when Kate first walked out onto the balcony and was astounded at the amount of people there. I loved her spontaneous, genuine, and humble reaction!


Better Than Cheese

It's no secret my journey through graduate school was made sweeter and easier by four ROCKIN' friends (five in our master's program - giving us an attrition rate of 20%). We drove 8 hours every three weeks for 18 months to climb the doctor's mountain. We stayed together in one hotel room. Ate at over 30 restaurants. Traveled over 3,674,000 miles (a rough estimate).

Now we are graduating together [again] and throwing ourselves a [nother] PARTY!!!! (And since I just learned how to make stripes in photoshop, I tried to see how many I could cram onto the invite.

designed by ms. fish

When we graduated with our master's degree in 2009, I presented each of my friends with a gift: a hardback book that I designed and wrote. Called The Path to Practitioner, it chronicled our journey together in becoming nurse practitioners through pictures and stories. I can't speak for my friends, but for me, I love this little book more than cheese (which is like saying more than Lisa Lampanelli loves jokes which is like saying more than Steve Jobs loves money which is like saying more than Charlie Sheen loves....  well you get the idea).

Here is a peak inside the book. That's us on the front cover. We look so Charlie's Angel-ish (which now seems sort of sacrilegious.... to have Charlie and Angel in the same sentence).

Copyright Jennifer H. Fisher

Here is what the Author's Note says in the right hand side above:

I love this photograph taken by my brother. It shows great perspective about obstacles and the vast freedom and opportunity which lie beyond. During school we faced roadblocks which seemed impassable. But success came with creative solutions: the greatest was an unlikely friendship of five very different women. Our friendship was special. It was rare. And together, we got around the walls. As the Beattles put it, "I got by with a little help from my friends." I hope you enjoy this story of our journey. It will never be repeated. It can only be remembered. Love, Jenni

You can see a preview of the book here.

Now, ssshhhh, it's a surprise what I am working on to give the girls for THIS graduation. All I can say is that it feels good to wrap my hands around a bone folder. It's been a long, long time.


OUR Big Day

27 years ago in high school, my boyfriend and I promised each other we would get a doctorate degree.

Then we tripped out of love and went our separate ways and I haven't seen him since my sophomore year of college. But I've never forgotten that promise to him, and even more importantly, to MYSELF.

So in 2005, I started graduate school and have been mired in books and papers ever since. I'm now a little grayer and a little wiser with a much bigger vocabulary. And finally, in 10 days, I will officially be hooded at the commencement exercises at the University of Utah. I am so, so excited!!  Mostly because it is a great excuse to have all my family in one place. My brother is coming from Virginia, and another one from San Diego, and another one is coming from clear across Provo. Plus my parents are flying over from CHINA. Can you believe it??? That is some serious parental support. I bet you a package of pickled peppers that they will win the award for farthest traveled.  Gosh how I love my mom and dad, and all my fam.

Yes sir and ma'am. It's going to be a great, great day.

Here is the invite I designed. I hope it reflects my joy and the gratitude I feel for my family. This is OUR accomplishment, after all.



Photo credit: Tip Junkie. Click here for tutorial

Photo credit: hello naomi

Photo credit: hello naomi

Rainbow Jello Eggs. Click here for tutorial
Photo credit and tutorial: Good Housekeeping

Photo credit and tutorial: Modern Parents Messy Kids
Photo credit: Made

Whenever I think of Easter dinner, I think of my grandma's floral china, ham, fresh roasted asparagus, deviled eggs, strawberries, and lemonade.

Deviled eggs are my kid's FAVORITE. Actually, we started calling them ANGEL EGGS.... cuz they are really heavenly and don't have a devilish bone in their creamy sweet little bodies.

photo credit

Grilled asparagus is one of my all-time favorite dishes. It is so easy, yet fresh, flavorful, healthy. Simple goodness. It bespeaks Easter in a mouthful... sort of resurrects my tastebuds! (The recipe link is below. I alter the recipe slightly by seasoning with Mrs. Dash, plus Celtic Sea Crystals).

Roasted Asparagus. Recipe here.

Of course, what would spring holidays be without strawberries. Holy Easter Eggs! I LOVE, LOVE my Strawberry Spinach Salad!

photo credit

Or how about some Strawberry Lemonade Bars for dessert?

Photo credit and recipe here

If I invited you to my house for dinner this Sunday and asked you to bring your FAVORITE Easter dish, what would you bring?

Go ahead and share your ideas in the comments. My mouth is watering in anticipation!


Wilted Wednesday

Sometimes I feel intimidated by my own family.

Sometimes I wonder why in the world I got dropped into the family I did.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone else has ever felt this way. 

____________________________ * ____________________________

Just for funsies, let's take a little family tour.  One of my relatives, Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State, was named one of the top 10 college US College Presidents. My uncle (mom's brother) is the Director of Finance for the state of Idaho and answers directly to the governor. He is highly respected in government and a popular speaker. My mom's other brother is the Senior Vice-President of one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country. He is a noted author, popular speaker and received Modern Healthcare's "Up and Comer's" award. My cousins are accomplished authors, writer's, journalists, computer programmers for the IRS, doctors, playwrights, composers. My siblings are chief residents, famous photographers, award-winning physicians, and highly accomplished bright individuals. My parents are amazing people who travel the world and have made friends in nearly every country. They render so much service and have made such an impact in the lives of people. They do SO much good.
____________________________ * ____________________________

Then there is me. A simple mom who is still looking for a job.

____________________________ * ____________________________

One of my friends was scheduled for an upcoming performance in the St. George Tabernacle. Another friend (Bridget) and I wanted to go hear her. We were talking about how talented our friend was, and Bridget said something that really struck me. She said, "performers need great audiences. Some people are blessed with the talent to perform, and I am blessed with the ability to love and appreciate a good performance. My talent is helping the performer look good."

I have since thought about this idea a lot. Since then, I have come to realize that maybe my purpose in the family is to help make them look good. I am like a shoe shiner whose life's work is to bring out the luster in something beyond myself.  Heck, since I am average, the above-averageness of my family looks even better by contrast. I am good at helping my family look good.

The older I get, the more I am learning to value what is often not valued: being ordinary. Being ordinary takes courage - the courage to find, live and embrace my own story, and truly accepting that I am enough just as I am. Sometimes when I think about the ambitions, talent and accolades of my family,  I start feeling the pull that part of my pre-written story means performing, pleasing, and proving.  But if I am honest with who I am and who I am supposed to be, I accept that playing a supporting role is just as worthy of an Oscar as the leading role.

Do you ever feel this way? Are you comfortable with your story? Do you have the courage to be ordinary?

Keep swimming, and enjoy this nourishing song.
Ms Fish



Last weekend was the Prom for Otto & Andy.

Which reminded me of my Prom. Which then reminded me of the music I loved as a teen. Which then reminded me of Madonna and Huey Lewis & the News. Which then reminded me of Lionel Ritchie. Which then reminded me THIS:

Happy Monday! Thanks for swimming by.
Ms Fish


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