8/31/2012

Books Prevent Brain-Rotting

     This is a little stack of books that I've put together for myself in order to keep my brain from rotting. I read a good-sized chunk out of each one before lunch. My stack started out with Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain, The Great Omission by Steve Saint, and two or three books from the Bible. There wasn't any particular logic behind those choices, they were just books that I kept out because I hadn't read them yet. (Well, you know, I've read the Bible before . . . but yeah.)  Later on, I got the Emily Dickinson poems out of a box while I was digging for something else, and I got the other three from the library. Oddly enough, I've found some pretty great books at the local library, despite its smallness and dumpiness. I don't expect the supply to last for long, but it's been a lot better than I feared. Right now I'm reading Tower Stories by Damon DiMarco, The Quest for Anastasia by John Klier and Helen Mingay, and 1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die. 


Letters from the Earth is a collection of short stories that was published fifty years after Mark Twain's death. Some of them are longer than others and some of them are very short. Some of them are hilarious, some of them are a bit slow, and a couple of them are bitingly sarcastic. I'm currently in the middle of the very last story, all about a family who is on a voyage across a water-drop under a microscope. Interesting stuff.
The Great Omission is written by the son of Nate Saint, one of the four missionaries who were martyred by the Waodani (often called the Aucas.) In this book, he writes about his perspective on missions and he tells a little bit about the experiences he had while helping the Waodani become a self-sustaining church and tribe. The writing isn't stellar, but I really appreciate what he says and I think that many churches and Christians need to hear what he says.
Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ah, Emily Dickinson. I can never decide whether I'm a poetry-loving type or not. I hate to admit it, but more than half of these poems don't make any sense to me. However, some of them are pure brilliance. Like this one:

The show is not the show,
But they that go.
Menagerie to me
My neighbor be.
Fair play --
Both went to see. 

I read that one out loud three times and then I laughed. It's my new favorite. If I had to name a favorite poet, it would be Emily Dickinson. Or Shel Silverstein. I know, I know. They're not at all similar.
1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die. This is possibly the book that I enjoy the most. And that's a good thing, because it's going to last me a long time. I usually take a big break after I read it, because I want to look up all of the places and events. I've already learned lots of facts and added quite a few destinations to my bucket list, and I'm only a quarter inch through the book. It's so huge that I'm tempted to say that it's three inches thick. But it's probably not. It's probably only two.
The Quest for Anastasia is about . . . Anastasia. Who else? For some reason, I've always liked Russian history. That and ancient Egyptian history. Don't ask, because I don't know. Additionally, I've always been a little fascinated/curious about Anastasia. Who isn't? I kept noticing the book on the shelf at the library, so I picked it up. I expected it to be really boring and technical, but it's actually quite well-written and interesting. Either that, or I'm growing up and I can actually handle non-fiction.
Tower Stories is a book of eyewitness accounts from September 11, 2001. At first I was a little scared to read it, because 9/11 gave me terrifying, reoccurring nightmares when I was little. That being said, I think that it's something I need to read. It's good to know what happened on that day, because it's real history and it's my history. I'm glad I'm reading it, and I wish that we had accounts like this for all historical events, wars, and tragedies. The best way to truly grasp something is to hear the story from people who were really there.

     So there you  have it. My Anti-Brainrotting Kit. Hope this wasn't exceedingly lengthy and dull. If it was, I hope you skipped it ;) In addition to these lovely books, I've been working on a large stack of fluffy/fictitious books as well. I'm still on a bit of an Agatha Christie kick, but I'm starting to get over it. I introduced myself to Rick Riordan, and John Grisham and Sherlock Holmes are next.
     Have you ever read any of these books? What non-fiction books would you recommend and what are your favorite topics and events to read about?

(Linking up with the Notebook Sisters today! Afraid this isn't exactly a "book review" but I think they'll forgive me.)


8/27/2012

Giant City

     We all woke up at four o'clock this morning so that Mom could go with Dad to the bank to do some paperwork. (No, the bank was not open at four o'clock. It's just that Dad has a job in another state. Living in transition is a bit complicated.) While Dad was at work, we went exploring. We ended up at Giant City State Park, and we hiked a couple of trails. Ben and Jason poked around and found lots of little creatures, and Sam and I amused ourselves by making fun of the state park signs ;)
     It was a rather damp day, but it was very beautiful. Lots of moss and ferns and amazing rock formations and cliffs. We're all quite excited about the fact that we'll be living just a few miles away from plenty of lovely state parks.
moss graffiti 
     After we went hiking and exploring around the state parks, we picked up Dad during his lunch break and went to the bank. Sam, Ben, Jason and I stayed in the car (of course). We had lots of interesting conversations. Sam and I educated B+J on stuff that cool people say and like, and they did their best to act exceedingly astonished and indignant. (For those who are wondering, Sam and I are not cool people. We just met some on accident once.) Also, Jason messed up the word heartthrob while we were talking about The Jonas Brothers, Justin Beiber, and One Direction and said "heart-frog" instead. Needless to say, it is now a new favorite word in our private dictionary. Kind of like fat-jump, pilgarlic, and goldfish boy. I told you we have great conversations. (Don't know what a pilgarlic is? Look it up, you'll find it. But I doubt you'll find fat-jump.) 
      We spent the rest of the day poking around in a toy shop at the mall and hanging out at Hobby Lobby and Barnes & Noble. Does anyone else think that Barnes & Noble smells amazing? I'll probably never bring myself to spend sixteen dollars on a book. I'm far too talented at bargains for that. But still. Someday I might cave and come out with a huge stack of books and notebooks, just because that would be pure loveliness.
     And there you have it. A little peek at our day. Beautiful hiking trails, humorous conversations, and a little bit of window shopping. That's pretty much what we do when we've got time to waste. <3

8/25/2012

Rainy Afternoon

     This morning was a bit of a mad rush, but the house is quiet this afternoon. It's raining outdoors, and it's a little bit chilly inside. Mom and Dad are watching television and drinking hot cocoa and tea in their bedroom. Sam is reading and baking brownies. I'm chopping up old magazines and wasting time on the internet, and Ben is reading to Jason.
     When the brownies come out of the oven, I'm going to top them with melted marshmallows and a marvelous peanut butter/chocolate concoction (at Sam's request). Until then, I have my own cup of cocoa to drink. I've dug my Agatha Christie book out of a cardboard box (three books in one) so I'm headed back upstairs to read about M. Poirot Miss Marple. Perhaps I will chop up more magazines when inspiration strikes ;)

Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel on Grooveshark

8/22/2012

Nectarine Pop-tarts

     Everything is extremely quiet lately. The little boys have started school again, and Dad is driving back and forth to his new job. Hopefully we'll get to move in September. But until then, Sam and I are floating around rather uselessly. I'm catching up on my reading, and Sam is starting a couple of projects in the shop. I've also started experimenting with HTML, and I need to start learning Photoshop too. (Anyone know of some good tutorials?) 
     Mom asked me to use up the nectarines that were in the fridge, so today I made homemade pop-tarts again. This time I used this recipe from smitten kitchen, and I made up my own filling. I didn't use any exact measurements, I just chopped up the fruit and threw in some sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I also sprinkled the finished product with cinnamon and sugar, and I baked the leftover crust scraps for Jason, because he happens to loathe fruit.
     I don't really have plans for the rest of the day, but I ought to get off the computer. I need to clean the kitchen, and then maybe I'll go swimming with the boys or read a book. Any book recommendations?

8/19/2012

The Fight for Living Room Domination

Meanwhile, in the living room, an intense struggle for living room domination is taking place . . .
Have at you!
Sadly, the glorious fight is broken up by a human with a camera and an anxious mother cat. So we can only speculate who is triumphant based on which warrior put up the best fight.

You tell us: who do you think won the fight? Patches (calico) or Hobbes (orange tiger)?

8/18/2012

Ding!

     I am monstrously happy. I have a typewriter. Sam found it for me at the Goodwill. It cost five dollars. And it works. And that, dear readers, is why I will always have a good relationship with thrift stores. 
     It's not the typewriter I want. (Yes, I know exactly what model I want. I spent two or three weeks stalking typewriter auctions on ebay.) But, you know . . . five bucks? And it works? I'm pretty happy. Besides, once I've messed with this one to my heart's content, I'm pretty sure I can sell this one on ebay and buy the one I really want. Oh yeah. That's how we roll in this family ;)

P.S. It comes complete with a lovely "ding!" sound. Heeheehee  ^_^

Trashin' the Camp by Disney on Grooveshark 



8/15/2012

The Book Stack

     It's been a long time since my last book stack post. I didn't read much during the month of June, because it was crammed full of road trips and events. In July, we were packing boxes and getting ready to sell the house. (It's a terrible idea to check out library books while you're packing up your own books, in case you were wondering.)
     But now it's August. The busyness is over, and we're faced with a whole month of being bored. And so it is time to go to the library again. We aren't going to Memphis anymore, so we're kind of stuck with the local library. And ohhh, ugh. It's one of the saddest libraries I've ever met. (And I've met quite a few.) That being said, I've only visited it two or three times. So there are still a few books that I haven't read yet. That probably won't be the case next week. But yeah. You have to work with whatever you have.

So here it is. My book stack for the next week or two. It better be a good one.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
National Velvet - Enid Bagnold
A House of Tailors - Patricia Reilly Giff
The Hollow - Agatha Christie
China Quest - Elizabeth Foreman Lewis
Prophet - Frank E. Peretti
The Great LIFE Photographers - Life Magazine, Gordon Park

8/12/2012

Waiting For Inspiration

     I feel as if I've lost my blogging voice and it's taking a long time in coming back. I suppose I still have things to say. I know I do. But when I open blogger, I just stare at the white blank and the words don't come.
     Life is complicated right now. Dad starts his new job tomorrow, but we still haven't found a place to live. It's a little bit stressful. I know for sure that we will all be in Illinois by September, but the next two or three weeks are up in the air. I kind of feel like I'm stuck in perpetual transition. This isn't where I'm going to live, so it doesn't feel like I do live here. But I don't live anywhere else. So where do I live?
     Life of late is also intensely boring. And intensely boring does not equal lots of wonderful blog posts. Most of my stuff is packed up, so there's not a lot to do. Books are unusually boring. The internet tries to take up all my time and makes me feel like a loser. So the only thing I can do is make fudgsicles or cookies and draw quotes and triangles in my notebook. Fun. But not really, because it gets old.
     So anyway. I don't really know what my point is. I guess I'm trying to say that I'm not a very good blogger during times of transition. I'm looking forward to having more structure and starting school again. Somehow I'm always most creative when I have structure. I miss blogging every day, and I'm hoping that comes back soon. We'll see when it does.
     In other news, I've started the process of creating a new blog. I've always loved this blog, but I'm really looking forward to a new creative space. I know, I know. It would be most sensible to stick with this blog. But I'm oddly excited about starting over. It makes me happy. So I'm going for it. It should be ready some time in September. Until that happens, I suppose I shall just hang out here and make occasional appearances whenever inspiration strikes :) And I think I shall end this post by saying thank you. To you guys. For being amazing. You're my favorite part about this blog :)
     And now I shall skedaddle. My semester away from school starts tomorrow. I am planning on reading lots of important books. And I'm hoping to learn some photoshop basics and a couple of guitar chords. And maybe I will cook something good to eat ;) And draw some more triangles.

8/11/2012

Currently

Eating a messy peach
Thinking thoughts of great deepness ;)
Planning a semester away from "official" school
Looking for people who write encouraging words
Copying quotes and coloring triangles
Wishing I knew what the future holds (or at least what next week holds)
Wondering what I would look like with bangs
Listening to all the best music
Hoping that this all turns out for the most wonderful best ever
Big Enough by Chris Rice on Grooveshark

8/07/2012

Narnia Time

     It only started last week, but I rather suspect that this is already a firm tradition in the mind of one little boy. Every night, Jason nags our ears off until we give in. Right around the time it gets dark, we all grab our pillows and comforters and pile into my bed. We lie with our heads against the wall, four in a row, and there's lots of giggling and poking and arguing and threatening and stealing of pillows. Then we turn the lights out, and the story begins. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 
      We all know the story backwards and forwards. That is, Sam, Ben, and I do. For Jason, it's his first time. The rest of us lie comfortably, listening to the words flow over us, knowing what's coming next, anticipating certain phrases and words. But Jason is tensely riveted to the storyline. Sometimes he lies still with the rest of us, and snuggles his head on my shoulder. But then something unexpected happens, and he sits straight up and stares at the dark screen of Sam's laptop. Then he has his head under his blanket, and Sam or I pull it off. He'll lie still and pretend he's not scared, and then he sits up again. When the half an hour is up, he begs for more. And when we turn the light on, everyone squints, but Jason is wearing a radiant smile. There is nothing as marvelous as being seven years old and entering Narnia for the first time.