Friday, April 30, 2010

Lightening things up

I mentioned a little over a year ago that my parents were getting their house ready to sell and had been foisting their unwanted stuff generously giving of their bountiful surplus to my brother and me. Well, they have sold their house and are now getting settled into their new condo. They seriously downsized, and the purging of excess household goods continues. Shortly before they moved, James and I spent a weekend at their house helping to pack. James and my brother took a couple truckloads of stuff to Goodwill, and to further lighten the load of things my parents would have to move into their new house, they sent us home with a carload as well. The above picture shows most of the haul on my guest bedroom floor. I'm still working on integrating some of these items into our home and off the floor, but a number of them are already earning their keep. Although, not the ones below.
This picture shows my dollhouse (obviously) and my set of encyclopedias (in the box). Yeah, those are still sitting exactly as pictured, and they are the flagship items for the things still sitting around. Most of them are books or toys. I don't have any children, so the toys are not really going to be actively used at this time. I need to get those boxed up and stored. And our bookcases are full right now. I won't mention how many we have, but suffice it to say, more bookcases aren't really an option. So we need to do some weeding of our books, which James has scheduled for when school lets out.

In the meantime, one of the items we are really enjoying is the lampshade. You may remember it as one of the few items from the first picture not packed in a canvas tote bag. (I love canvas tote bags. I use them constantly. My mom had a million at least a score of these, so I nabbed several.) I'd been wanting a lamp for our living room for quite a while, so I stopped at my favorite thrift store shortly after I brought the lampshade home and picked up this lamp for $2.99. I love it, and it's much cozier than the overhead light. I've found that lampshades with warm earth tones really help warm up the light from those energy-saving compact florescent light bulbs. I'm pretty keen on the retro vibe of the wooden lamp, too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

100 Children's Books

Recently I posted my Birthday List, and now I'm going to go ahead and divulge that I love lists. Particularly book lists. Perhaps this is not a shock, considering that I'm a cataloger. I am not actually by nature a particularly organized person, but I love creating small pockets of order in an often disorderly world. I find it very satisfying. For instance, when I clean out a closet, I will repeatedly open it to gaze inside at the newly ordered shelves. Lists give me this same feeling. (So does a well written MARC record. Yep. I'm a cataloger.) 

All this to say that I just read this post over at Book Scout, and I want to join in the fun. This list is from the School Library Journal.

100. The Egypt Game – Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard – Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe – Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches – Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren (1950
94. Swallows and Amazons – Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn – Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted – Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall -- Mac Lachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father – Cleary (1977)
88. The High King -- Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday – Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse – Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief – Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three – Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family – Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain – Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember – DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust – Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog – Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers – Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain – George (1959)
72. My Father’s Dragon – Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning – Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy – Lovelace (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart (2007)
68. Walk Two Moons – Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher – Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins – Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes – Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago -- Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake – Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock – Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl – Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart – Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars – Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins – Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG – Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows – Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays – Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell (1960)
49. Frindle – Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks – Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy – Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass – Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest – Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie – Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me – Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling (2000)
34. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach – Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – O’Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic – Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising – Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess – Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II – Carroll (1865/72)
26. Hatchet – Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women – Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief – Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda – Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee – Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit – Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game – Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth – Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden – Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes – Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone – Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte’s Web – White (1952)

So. The one's I've read are in bold. There are a few others that I may have read, but I can't remember for sure, so those are not bolded. You can tell that I haven't really been keeping up with children's books lately, so it will be fun to read the current ones. Plus there are a couple I've never read that are classics, so I'll be able to count those toward my goal for my other list! Now here's my plan: Each week I'm going to write a post about one of the books on this list. I'm going to do the whole list, both bold and unbolded. Any votes as to whether I start with number one or make it a countdown and start with number 100?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Books I Read in March

Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living by Doug Fine
An eco-memoir--I've read several of these now. I like reading these for the personal inspiration to continue edging myself towards a greener life, but this one wasn't really a favorite. For one, the author moves to Arizona to start his green lifestyle in earnest, and so a lot of the things aren't really transferable to my life in Indiana. Also, the writer makes a number of jokes about the political right and despite often finding them amusing, I felt like the book could be alienating to some readers, which I found frustrating.

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers translated by Benedicta Ward
We read this for our adult study at church this Lent. It is excellent for Lenten reading--very humbling and thought provoking. It's arranged with with sections of sayings from various desert Fathers and some desert Mothers grouped (Greek) alphabetically by the saint's name. So good. So perfect for Lent.

Homegrown Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs: a Bountiful, Healthful Garden for Lean Times by Jim Wilson
Lots of pictures, user-friendly, devotes a full or half page to info and tips on growing many kinds of fruits and vegetables.  I especially liked the sidebar with tips from the author's personal experience, like how to retain aroma and flavor when you dry basil. This book doesn't advocate completely organic methods, seems like an integrated pest management approach.

The New American Backyard: Easy, Organic Techniques and Solutions for a Landscape You'll Love by Kris Medic
Tons of advice on choosing plants, managing a lawn, landscaping to work with what your soil and yard, arranging plantings to reduce energy costs in your home, and dealing with weeds and pests.
The Landscape Makeover Book: How to Bring New Life to an Old Yard by Sara Jane von Trapp
Tips on how to update the look of your yard, how to decide what to keep and what to get remove. Also pruning, thinning and transplanting things that are overgrown, and generally planning and prioritizing. Doesn't have an organic focus.

James keeps teasing me that I like reading about gardening more than actually gardening. I've got a few more gardening books that I've been reading in April. We are planning to put in our very first vegetable garden this weekend, though. April should be a pretty long book post, actually. I'm slowing myself down by juggling a lot of books at once, but I'm hoping to edge Middlemarch out of the currently reading sidebar.  Winter's Heart is my lunch book at work, though. I take half hour lunches, and it's a long book..hopefully it will show up in the May edition of Books I Read.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

33 things to do before I turn 33

 1. Make spanikopita
 2. Make tamales
 3. Make 3 different kinds of homemade ice cream
 4. Bake bread once a month
 5. Make cheese
 6. Can something
 7. Eat something grown in our backyard
 8. Plant more bulbs
 9. Hang a fern in our front entry
10. Put up (and use) a clothesline in our yard
11. Organize our non-fiction books
12. Do a kitchen organization and spruce up
13. Make cushions for rocking chair
14. Do some decoupage
15. Finish Christmas project for our Godchildren
16. Make Christmas stockings
17. Finish the socks I have in progress
18. Knit some more dish cloths
19. Finally make that t-shirt quilt
20. Organize a photo scavenger hunt
21. Go to 3 garage, yard or rummage sales
22. Go on a walk at least once a month and take pictures to mark the seasonal changes
23. Get a conveniently portable, reusable set of dishes to use before next Lent
24. Get some glass dishes for taking my lunch
25. Visit a state I've never visited before
26. Get my hair cut
27. Visit the IMA 6 times
28. Play croquet at least 3 times
29. Start using a lectionary for daily Bible readings
30. Memorize 1 Psalm per month
31. Read 3 classic works of literature I've never read before
32. Continue posting at least once a week on average
33. Track my progress with this list

Monday, April 5, 2010

Christ is Risen! Χριστός ἀνέστη! !المسيح قام

I hope everyone has had a joyous Feast of Feasts. I had not intended for my spring break post to indicate that I was going to take a break from blogging for the rest of the fast, but I guess it served as such. Today I have caught up on all my blog reading. I really enjoyed looking at the many pictures of Holy Week and Paschal celebrations, but I don't have any to share myself, just a few photos around the house.

The last few weeks have been very full.  Efforts are being made locally to form an Orthodox school, and I had the opportunity to meet with one of the leaders of the steering committee about serving on the school board which is being formed. We had our annual staff appreciation dinner at the library where I work. The weekend of the fifth Sunday of Lent, we had a wonderful Lenten retreat at our church which is hosted jointly by the women of our parish as well as those of the local Greek parish.  This year Maria Khoury came and spoke to us of her experiences raising a family in the Holy Land, which was very inspiring. On the 25th of March after Holy Liturgy for the Annunciation, there was a fish dinner at church celebrating not only the feast, but also the 50th birthday of our parish priest. And of course, through it all there have been the Lenten church services.

And then, Holy Week: my favorite week of the year. I was telling a non-Orthodox co-worker about the services of Holy Week, and she commented, "It sounds like you could just pitch a tent in the church parking lot for the week." I believe that most of my readers are Orthodox Christians, but for any that are not, or for those curious about the schedule we follow in our Antiochian parish, here is the schedule for Holy Week this year. It gives a brief description of the various services.  Each one is unique and beautiful and a blessing to attend.

I find Bright Week a bit of a shock to the system, in more ways than one. Staying up most of the night on Pascha, eating all of the rich, (delicious!) festal foods, and then after being so immersed in the life of the Church for Lent and Holy Week, suddenly finding myself back to life as usual.  I take the day off of work on Bright Monday to ease myself back into it, but the big shift in the pattern of daily life tends to feel very abrupt to me. I do find it helps if I have some fun things and projects planned to fill the time I was spending in church: there is a garden to be planted, things to make, and books to read. Not to mention chores to be done, which have been severely neglected! I'm so impressed with those of you who do a Lenten spring clean. For this working wife Lent means work, church, sleep, repeat.  Food and food shopping find their way into that pattern sometimes, but cleaning, almost never. So I have plenty to do to help me adjust to the seasonal shift, and hopefully I'll be inspired to share a few of these projects here.

Blessed Paschal season to you all!