Thursday, December 4, 2008 that you?

The Year of Living Biblically has to be one of the most hilarious books I have read in a long time. The premise of the book is that an agnostic journalist wants to explore the spirituality of the bible and figures that the best way to do it is to truly live it for a while. He has an ulterior motive - by writing a book about his experiences, he might make some money. So he vows to follow everything the bible says to do for a year straight and keep notes and do research along the way. As he lived he kept a journal which became this book. To keep things linear, first he "became" Old Testament (that's the point where I am at right now). Then he "became" New Testament. I'm learning a lot right along with him as he shares the results of the research he is doing reading and interviewing biblical scholars of all kinds.

If you like the humour of Dave Barry or John Knox, you will enjoy A.J. Jacobs. will crack up with his jokes! And along the way he is making some pretty profound discoveries as well. I'm hoping that because I found this book on the shelf of a Christian bookstore, that the good news in the end will be that he is no longer an agnostic, but a Christian.

Can I really say I've read this book?

The book lies abandoned on the shelf. It gave its owner many chapters of enjoyment, but in the final gasp (ie the last chapter) she just couldn't continue. The first few sentences of the final chapter threatened....tears.

I could just tell that Stephanie Pearl McPhee was going to reach into her past and tell a heart-warming story of such emotional depth that tears would flow and eyes would turn red. So I quickly slammed the book shut and there it sits. When I get to a place in my life when life is stable and hormones settled, I will happily pick the book back up and warm myself with the words of a great storyteller.

Free Range Knitter is a legacy book - a book that her children and family will treasure as an heirloom, just like her knitted items. It made me roar with laughter, and cry with heart-felt emotion. I want to knit like her and write like my next life in heaven.

So I cracked another book cover already!

Or at least, I popped the CD in the computer. A novel even! "The Chrysalis" by Heather Terrell and Timothi Graham was a very interesting "read".

Loving historical fiction as I do and enjoying also the technique of combining the past and present in alternating chapters, this book satisfied both of these and went one more. It spanned three time periods. The Chrysalis is a painting done by an obscure painter in the late 16oo's (if I remember correctly). Therefore one chapter takes place there with the development of how the painting came to be. The second time period is just previous to WWII when the painting mysteriously disappears when its Jewish owner has his property confiscated (or does he???). The third time period is the present day story of an art auction house that is investigating the true owner of the painting. So there are many layers of plot development to the storyline and much to be learned about art, WWII, art auction houses, investigation and more. It carried me along nicely with my knitting click, click, clicking away.

The one thing that disappointed me was the fact that the artist and painting were fictional. There really was no painting called the Chrysalis that I could find.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Cozy Read

I had been feeling guilty over the fact that I haven't been reading many books lately. For the most part, if it doesn't have anything to do with knitting or Sunday School, the cover hasn't been cracked. And then it came to me...I have been reading (some would say obsessively) for over 40 years. Rarely a day has gone by (can you do the math to figure how many days that would be?!!) when I haven't read pages, if not chapters, of books. So I decided to give myself a break. It's my knitting phase, for as long or short as it may last. I feel better with that guilt load off my back.

The latest book I have read is "Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines". I loved this book. The authors write as if talking right beside you, in a homey and comforting way. They enthuse and inspire you to greater knitting heights. The format is essays interspersed with patterns, with technique thrown in as needed. It truly is "outside the lines", or box. One of the items I want to make is the fair isle blanket knit in the round and then steeked. To get me thinking fair isle is really a stretch, so you know how persuasive they can be!

This book will give many years of fun knitting and hone your knitting skills at the same time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm back....for the time being

Well...I discovered how easy it is to travel from Ravelry to my personal blog. Maybe I'll be able to update now and again after all :).

Speaking of traveling - my latest book was about time travel. Time travel is a concept that sci-fi has developed in different ways over many, many years. I've always been a fan of sci-fi, but the more recent books have put me off, so I don't often go there. This latest - "Found" by Margaret Peterson Haddix is actually a teen book, but I have quite enjoyed the twists. It was a very easy read, with very simplistic writing. The premise behind the book, though, (which I will not reveal) was interesting and not one that I have encountered before. Since the book is the first in a series I will have more reading ahead of me.

The other book that I'm reading (on my ipod), is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Here is literature at it's finest. I'm really enjoying this story, which I don't believe I've read before. If I have I don't remember a thing about it. Years ago in elementary school I directed a play written by her sister Emily - Wuthering Heights. For two spinsters who lived in the boonies they sure had some deep thoughts on men and women and their love lives.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Everything in life these days leads to...


But I refuse to have this become a knitting blog. There are so many of them out there! And I have nothing to say that could add one iota of originality to the mix. I'm still such a novice. As is my nature I have become obsessed with the interest of the day and I so I knit, read about knitting, listen to knitting podcasts etc. etc. I must learn it ALL, but there's an awful lot to learn.

So...I think for now that we can safely say that to maintain sanity this reading blog is hibernating. Catch me over on if you dare to enter the murky waters of the knitting world.

My name is Teachermom.

Let's knit together.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Since I have joined the ranks of the knitting world I have had to learn a whole new language. Sl1, WS, SSK - who would have thought these all meant something? In the "old days", to decipher such gobbledegoop you would have to page through knitting books or find a knitting mentor who was wise in the ways of this foreign land. Now, however, enter the world of the WWW. A few strokes of the keyboard, a click and you have a simple explanation - often times even a diagram or video. Technology is wonderful.

RIP doesn't (at least, as far as I have so far ventured) mean anything in knitting language. RIP stands for "reading in progress". This is a cousin to the OTN, which is a knitting abbreviation for "on the needle". Projects you are currently working on. Since my reading level has declined since I started my yarn obsession I thought that this would be an appropriate way to chart where I'm at in the world of words.

Bible - Psalms, Mark and Ezekiel (pardon me, but I will really be glad when I'm done reading Ezekiel to the kids!)

In my "study" (also known as the bathroom) - "Chicken Soup for the Soul - Celebrating Mothers and Daughters". My daughter gave me this book and I love it. But I can only take it in small doses as it causes me to cry with almost every story.

"Study" book just finished - Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Knitter's Almanac". What a heart-warming book! Even if you never plan to knit any of the projects, her friendly style of writing and useful tips are worth the read. She takes you through a full year with a different project for each month.

In the kitchen - "Apple Cider Vinegar" by Paul C. Bragg. I'm reading this book in my never-ending search for a cure for my 13 yo son and his listlessness and allergy (?) problems. No, apple cider vinegar does not taste like apple juice. It tastes like it smells - bad!

In the living room - I'm reading the kids "Prince Caspian" by C.S. Lewis in anticipation of the movie coming out in May. It looks really good! This will be an exciting boy-type movie with lots of action. My 8 yo son just wiggles in delight when the book describes the swords and sword play that is going on.

By my favorite chair - "Princess" by Jean P. Sasson. This is a true story of a progressive-thinking Saudi Arabian princess and the struggles she goes through bucking the age-old system that keeps women in their low place of esteem. It is a heart-breaking book as it describes what women go through and I have to put it down after a few chapters of reading.

In audio form (best for knitting by!) I have "Emma" by Jane Austen and "Beowulf", translated and read by Seamus Heaney (you must listen to this just for his lovely Irish accent!)

OTN - dishcloth shawl almost finished; Knitpicks Essentials socks about 1/4 of the way done; slipper socks for my husband 1/2 way done; cable scarf (I may just frog this as it sits abandoned and I have no heart in me to finish)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not so recent reading

Some people blog everyday and some once a week. I am a once-a-month blogger. Especially since I blog about reading and I haven't been reading much lately. What have I been doing? Knitting! Knitting in the morning while listening to my bible CD's; knitting while listening to knitting podcasts; knitting while keeping a watch on the children's schoolwork; knitting at night watching a movie. When I do read, I read about....knitting!

Before knitting took over my life, I was reading about the glycemic index way of eating in an effort to find a way to lose weight. I thought that losing some weight might help my high blood pressure. One of the best books out there is "The g.i. diet" by Rick Gallop. It's basic and organized. You can come away understanding what this gi thing is all about. And his chart of green light food (good to eat), yellow light food (eat in moderation) and red light food (avoid) is the perfect thing to put on your fridge as a check before you put something in your mouth. Basically, you try and choose food that is harder to digest (whole grains for example) so your stomach doesn't quickly turn it to sugar.

With regular exercise and the low gi way of eating I have managed to lose 10 pounds, with 10 more still to go.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm obsessed...

...with knitting. My stepmother knits all the time and gives us beautiful hand knit socks as gifts. A dear friend always carries her knitting with her. I used to knit (try - 30 years ago!) It was time to throw myself into the knitting scene again. But, my goodness, how things have changed! Yarn is NOT the same! I feel like an alien on another world when I browse the local yarn shop (LYS for those in the know). So, true to my nature, I have taken on the job of getting up to speed.
Now, keep in mind that I DO NOT have time to "get up to speed" with the knitting world, let alone spend hours clicking needles. However, I have never let something like that stop me. Copious books have been reserved from the library, my Amazon/Chapters wishlist has grown, brown boxes have begun arriving in my mailbox and a few weeks ago I found myself knitting in Tim Horton's. Yes, I am now a knitter.

So far most of what I have done is abstract. Reading, poring over sites on the web (what a treasure trove of information and patterns!), looking at patterns. But...I have knit a few items as well. Two pairs of socks for myself, a pair for my youngest son and part of a shawl that I ripped out because it just wasn't me. That yarn will probably become a hat and scarf - it really is beautiful.
Two sock books that I drool over and hope to one day knit from now grace my library shelf.

A lesson in frustration

Blogging is a exercise in frustration. How many days have I said to myself, "Today is the day I'm going to update my blog." And then it proceeds like this:

1. Get camera because I MUST share my latest hobby creation - a pair of socks. Hmm....out of batteries.

2. Look for batteries. Can only find one even though I have bought numerous sets of rechargeable batteries to make sure that I never am at a loss. OK - forget the picture, I'll just write about them.

3. Sit down at desk. Look for note I wrote with blogging ideas. Desk is VERY cluttered. OK...

4. Organize desk. Find receipts that I thought I had lost that should go to MIL. Put them in an envelope in purse.

5. Find other important papers that I need to keep. Put them in places that I will NEVER forget where they are (hmmm.....have I heard that before?)

6. Notice that someone has spilled something sticky on the desk underneath all these papers. Go to kitchen for wet cloth. Clean up.

7. Decide I really need a small container to hold all those little "things" - paper clips etc. Back to kitchen.

8. Make piles of... library stuff to go back, hair clips to go to bathroom, notes to self that can't be thrown out, knitting notions, books I'm reading, bills to pay, SS papers, school schedules...

9. Finally the desk (in front of me, anyways) is clear. I can begin.

But you know, my stomach is growling. It's telling me that it hasn't been fed yet.

So...maybe breakfast first and then later today, when I get a break, I'll write about that pair of finished socks. And maybe by then I'll have tracked down the other battery for the camera and can share their beauty.


Friday, January 25, 2008

We are deep in the clutches of a freezing cold, but I can picture myself sitting on a warm beach, sipping a frosty drink and reading a Dick Francis novel. A friend recently posted that her favorite author is Dick Francis, so I immediately reserved a book from the library to check him out. What interested me the most about the main character was that he is a glass blower. I once entertained thoughts of doing this very thing. I was even enrolled in the school. But life happened and glass blowing and I went in different directions. Next summer, though, I will definitely tuck a few DF novels into my beach tote - even if the beach is a long way from Mexico.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Finally! Some commonsense health advice

A new genre of books has arrived. The health novel. Story has always been the best way to impart knowledge and it seems that is true in the field of health and nutrition as well.

"Water With Lemon" is an interesting read - albeit, not classic literature. It WAS written with an agenda, after all. But all the elements of a good story are there: romance, rising suspense, drama, defeat, hope, laughter, crying. And the best thing of all, it makes healthy eating so commonsense and doable! No radical lifestyle changes or unusual concoctions. Just the simple power of learning and putting into effect one good habit after another, until 8 have been established. Then continue those the rest of your life. How easy can it get?!

This book is highly recommended and will become a part of our homeschool curriculum for high school. I have the cookbook on order, but in the meantime recipes from it can be viewed from links off the homepage of the author Zonya Foco

Happy reading! Happy eating! Here's to your good health!