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Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Club

In college I majored in US History and English Lit. I think it’s pretty much an understatement but I love to read. A small group of friends and I started a book club. Not that I needed an excuse to read books but we also like to discuss the book, the story and the language used, lasting impressions that kind of thing. I usually judge the book chosen for reading to be a success if a member recommends it to someone once we have finished. 

The story of a book is great. It is obviously an important piece to what a book is, but I really love language. I love the words that authors choose. The tone that is evoked from certain words would not always be the same had the author instead chose a different word. The dialogues would be different, the characters would evolve into something else. I like to work out what the author is saying deeper by looking at the language they use. Partly, I believe this is why movies are never the same as the books. Screen writers changing a loved book changes intricate pieces to the characters and story that are then lost in the movies. Never mind that they also change lots of other things too.  

This month we read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I have to say that it was my turn to pick a book, and I picked this one based on the main character as being a historian and the setting being in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. While I have never been there, it is, in my mind, the most wonderful of all places.  I initially thought this book was going to be a work of fiction but more of historical fiction, a history of witches or perhaps a history of Alchemy. I was wrong for the most part, but pleasantly surprised all the same.

A Discovery of Witches is book 1 in a trilogy. It is neither an earth shattering literary classic book nor even really a work of historical fiction. Actually, it is another take on witches and vampire myths. I would compare it to a grown up version of Twilight. The vampires, however,  do not sparkle, thank goodness.  I also liked that for the most part, the characters are educated. I like that they work in laboratories and that there is a research aspect to what they do. The story revolves around two main characters, one a witch and the other a vampire.  Without giving too much away to the story line, I do have to say it is an original take on the witch/vampire stories out there or atleast that I have read.  It was a quick read. The author does a nice job of setting the scenes and I like her language. It is not over the top cheesy on the romance level. I will read the other books in the trilogy because it has sparked my interest. 

As I’m typing this, a thunder storm has rolled into town. The room has gotten dark and its noon. ..This means I need to wrap this up and snuggle on the couch with our next book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is perfect reading weather! 
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stopping to smell the Roses…err Daffodils

As I said in yesterdays post, it was a beautiful day here in Michigan. Sunny, warm with a gentle cooling breeze, really the stuff that dreams and pictures are made out of. School is getting out and my youngest boy likes to walk home on these nice days instead of riding in the car. Can’t say that I blame him there.
He bounds up the front porch steps, all smiles with his hand behind his back. I wonder, what can he be hiding back there. . .  A snake? A frog? No no , maybe it’s a worm or a turtle. . . You never really know with young boys do you? 

Daffodil in a pot made by the Boy
My baby had stopped to pick his mom a Daffodil. Now, as a gardener,  property owner, adult  I know it’s frustrating to have some random kid pick your precious pretty flowers. I get it. But, at that moment my mushy, filled to bursting, mom heart melted. It was the sweetest thing.  On his walk home, my boy, the run jump climbing boy, the one who later that night would bury his legs and feet in dirt and sand at the baseball field “just for fun” boy thought enough of a flower to stop and want to bring it home to his mom. Priceless.

Today, on the way to school, we had a talk about the importance of leaving flowers where we find them so that others can enjoy their beauty and about that even though they are in “nature” it is someone's flower.  Even though, secretly, I was still mushy and happy,  seeing that pretty yellow flower that my baby picked just for me, on my window sill. 
Even the Kitten likes to smell the flowers

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Weather

Tulips sprouting
Yesterday was beautiful. Today is shaping up to be pretty gorgeous. High in the 80F range sounds like a perfect Spring day. Lol But, it’s only the middle of March. That is definitely out of character for Michigan weather.   Tulips bulbs that I planted last Fall are starting to pop up, they bring with them the promise of warmer days and cool nights.  The weather and promise of Spring makes me want to dig in my garden, to plant flowers and vegetables everywhere.   I am already planning a raspberry patch along one side of my garage.  And the herbs, can’t forget about herbs! I see myself sinking containers into the ground, spaced out in a “S” shaped pattern. I can almost smell the Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme. 

Budding leaves
Only, I have to get ahold of myself, lol, no rushing into planting just yet. I still believe there will be a wild snow storm in April, a freak frost in the first week of May. It has to happen. This is Michigan after all. Right? I must admit, I am worried about what the unseasonable warm weather means for the garden this year. Our trees are budding and the grass is green, bugs are coming out again. Will the weather be too warm and the vegetables get too leggy? A question every gardener must worry over.

To satisfy my urge to garden, I am happy to at least begin to turn over the earth. Spread some layers of compost out. I compost from organic matter such as potato peals to paper, but my secret is I also like to add a bit of my chicken manure. The nitrogen that the manure produces helps to break down the other organic matter and also adds some nutrients into the compost which in turn feeds my garden soil. I only have 5 backyard hens so the manure is not a lot, however it does do the trick in my opinion.

Enjoy the turning of the seasons everyone. I am heading outside to get some vitamin D and to relish the sunshine and heat while it lasts. I still think there is an ever present threat of snow or frost. lol Atleast until May. 

Chickens in the yard : )

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Monday, March 5, 2012

"Do You Want to Wrestle?"

Backyard Football is war 
“Do you want to wrestle?”  What a question. I am convinced that most households around the world field these kinds of questions on a daily basis. To the kids who ask the questions, I am sure it sounds like a perfectly legit way to spend some time in the evening. But, as a parent, I know this is no good. I am a mother to boys.  In my house everything is a competition. Brushing your teeth in the greatest speed to wrestling, nothing is taken haphazardly; every competition is for the glory of bragging rights. For a split second, that boy can be the “winner” of the house.  My boys do not take these daily competitions lightly. Every battle is fought with determination and skill.  There are practice moments in their bedroom/home base before the fateful question is asked, the gauntlet thrown…”Do you want to wrestle?”  Ahhhh, it is said so nonchalantly, but I know better. I know that one boy, will take it too seriously, one boy may get his feelings hurt. One boy…probably the younger one, will be upset. 

What I also know is that one day that younger boy will be the same size or larger than his older brother. That younger boy is a watcher and a thinker. He watches his older brother and his friends. He pays attention to battle strategy and he makes mental notes. One day my baby will grow up and he will take on his brother and he will win. I can see the changes already.  A race won by the younger one here and there. A few strikes thrown on the ball field to help him earn his older brother’s respect.  It is such a bitter sweet moment, as he leaves his single digit youth and grows into the double digit age and sheds so much of his baby exterior and rushes to catch up to his older brother. As a mom, I want to keep him young and hold on tight, but I understand these moments of competition are preparing him for life. My boys have learned to be good winners and losers. They have learned teamwork and patience. They know what it is like to work towards a goal. I hope, I had some part in teaching them these lessons, but I know so much of it was learned through their brotherly competitions.  
Holding Breath Competitions

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