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scaifea's thread #24

This is a continuation of the topic scaifea's thread #23.

This topic was continued by scaifea's thread #25.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 3:20pm Top

Hi, everyone! Welcome to Thread XXIV!

Art inspired in one way or another by some of my current reads:


Thursday's Child:


Reaper Man:

The Round House:

War and Peace:

A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings:


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

From the Introductions Thread:
I'm Amber, a one-time Classics professor turned stay-at-home parent/lady of leisure. I spend my time sewing, knitting, baking, volunteering at my son's school library and with the PTO, and, of course, reading.

My reading life is happily governed by lists, which means that I read a healthy variety of things across various genres.

I'm 42 going on 12 and live in Wisconsin with my husband, Tomm; our 9-year-old son, Charlie; and our two dogs, Tuppence the Border Collie and Mario the Golden Retriever.

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 11:25am Top

The five-ish or so books I have going and the On Deck books nearly all come from the following categories and lists:

1. A book from the 100 Banned Books book (at least currently. As soon as I finish this list, I'll replace it with another, and oh, I've got tons of lists).

2. A children's book, for Charlie's library. I'm trying to collect books from various award lists, and I like reading them before reading them to Charlie or deciding to add them to Charlie's shelves. For this category, I’m currently working through three lists:
a. 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Die
b. The Newbery Honor books
c. Cooperative Children's Book Center list

3. A book from the Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy List, in chronological order.

4. A book for the Presidential Challenge. Books for this category are read in chronological (presidentially) order.

5. A list I'm working through together with my best friend, Rob: The Hugo/Nebula/WFA/Bram Stoker (and other) lists (combined, in chronological order)

6. For this category, I cycle through 7 different stacks:
a. Agatha Christie's bibliography (in chronological order)
b. Stephen Fry's bibliography (in chronological order)
c. John Boyne bibliography (in chronological order, sort of)
d. Neil Gaiman's bibliography (in some order other than chronological (don't
e. Christopher Moore's bibliography (in chronological order)
f. The NEH Timeless Classics list
g. The National Book Award list (in alpha order by title)
h. The Pulitzer list (in alpha order by author)

7. An unread book from my shelves.

8. A book from my Read Soon! shelves.

9. A book on Buddhism or from the Dalai Lama's bibliography.

10. Book-a-year challenge: Three years ago, along with a few others in this group (*cough* Paul *cough*), I made a year-by-year list to see how far I could go back with consecutive reads. I've since been trying to fill in the gap years.

11. A book from the couple of series that I'm reading together with my mom.

12. A full-on re-read through Shakespeare's stuff.

13. A read-aloud-to-Charlie-at-bedtime book (or two).

14. An audio book, which I listen to as I knit/sew/otherwise craft/drive.

15. A Discworld book (so many of these are coming up soon on various lists, so I'm just diving into it)

16. This slot is reserved for books that just grab me and shout that they need to be read Right Now.

And on top of these, there will be a multitude of picture books and easy readers, which Charlie and I read together. I've decided again this year also to list our re-reads, but I'll just list them each day and not number them.

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 3:18pm Top

What I'm reading now:
-Andersonville (Banned Books)
-Thursday's Child (1001 Children's Books)
-Brontomek! (BSFA)
-Reaper Man (Discworld read)
-The Round House (audiobook, NBA)
-War and Peace (because Charlie wants me to)
-Ribsy (Charlie's bed-time book)
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (and another Charlie bed-time read)
-A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings (holiday read)

Books On Deck:

-The Gods of Pegana (The Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy)
-The Worst President: The Story of James Buchanan (Presidential Challenge)
-Revenge (Fry bibliography)
-House of Leaves (unread book from my shelves)
-The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (from my Read Soon shelves)
-Essential Teachings (Buddhist readings)
-Crime and Punishment (Books by Year, 1866)
-Unraveled (series that my mom wants me to read so we can chat about it)
-The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare re-read)

In addition to these, I have some classics-related texts that I'm working through (VERY slowly (read: I haven't touched them in months)):
-Asinaria by Plautus (reading in Latin)
-Iliad by Homer (reading in Greek)
-Latin Literature by Gian Biagio Conte
-The Cambridge History of Classical Literature Volume 1 Part 1

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 3:19pm Top

Books Read

1. James and the Giant Peach (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
2. The Inverted World (BFSA) - 9/10 = A
3. The Cat Who Went to Heaven (Charlie's book club book) - 9/10 = A-
4. Don Quixote (from my unread shelves) 0 8/10 = B+
5. The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian (from my classics shelves) - 8/10 = B+
6. Prairie Tale (from my Read Soon shelves) - 7/10 = C+
7. A Bear Called Paddington (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A+
8. The Dolphin Crossing (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
9. The Year of the Book (a book I picked off the shelves while volunteering at Charlie's school library) - 9/10 = A-

10. The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Newbery Medal) - 10/10 = A+
11. Anna & Elsa: All Hail the Queen (Charlie book) - 8/10 = B
12. The Popularity Papers (#3) (Frequently Challenged Children's Books) = 8/10 = B+
13. The Hollow Hills (Mythopoeic) - 8/10 = B+
14. The Odyssey (audiobook in the car) - 10/10 = A+
15. Herobrine Scared Stiff (Charlie's read-aloud) - 7/10 = C-
16. Drama (Frequently Challenged Children's Books) - 9/10 = A
17. Where the Lilies Bloom (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
18. More About Paddington (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
19. When the Sea Turned to Silver (Westview library book) - 9/10 = A
20. Ghosts (Westview library book) - 8/10 = B+
21. The Inquisitor's Tale (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
22. Wolf Hollow (Newbery Honor Book) - 10/10 = A+
23. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie's book club read) - 10/10 = A+
24. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books/audiobook) - 9/10 = A

25. Ollie's Odyssey (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A
26. Gandhi, Fighter without a Sword (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
27. Sing Down the Moon (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
28. The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
29. Esio Trot (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = A-
30. The Perilous Gard (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
31. Paddington Helps Out (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
32. The Colour of Magic (Discworld series) - 8/10 = B+
33. The Stolen Child (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 8/10 = B+
34. Leviathan (Locus YA) - 8/10 = B-
35. Herobrine Saves Christmas (Charlie's bedtime read-aloud book) - 7/10 = C
36. Vaino, a Boy of New Finland (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
37. Floating Island (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
38. The Nargun and the Stars (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 = A
39. Dog Man Unleashed (Charlie read-aloud) - 8/10 = B+

40. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
41. Moccasin Trail (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
42. The Paul Street Boys (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C+
43. The Peppermint Pig (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
44. Mr. Pants: Camping Catastrophe! (Charlie's read-aloud book) - 10/10 = A+
45. Paddington Abroad (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
46. Dark Star of Itza (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
47. Dragonsong (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
48. All Alone (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
49. Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective (Charlie's book club read) - 9/10 = A
50. The Light Fantastic (Discworld series) - 8/10 = B+
51. Wildwood Dancing (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 9/10 = A
52. Creepers (Bram Stoker Award/Audiobook) - 7/10 = C
53. Henry Huggins (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
54. The Complete Sherlock Holmes (started as a 1001 Children's Books read (one of the novels) and spiraled from there) - 10/10 = A+
55. The Neverending Story (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
56. Ship Breaker (audiobook, Locus YA Award) - 8/10 = B+
57. Meggy MacIntoch (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
58. Equal Rites (Discworld) - 8/10 = B+

59. Shadrach (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
60. Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers (Charlie's school library book) - 9/10 = A
61. The Freedom Maze (audiobook, Andre Norton Award) - 8/10 = B+
62. Homecoming (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 = A
63. Old Path White Clouds (Buddhist reading list) - 8/10 = B+
64. Poems That Make Grown Women Cry (Goodreads Giveaway) - 9/10 = A
65. The Young Visiters (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
66. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (audiobook/Christie bibliography) - 8/10 = B+
67. Paddington at Large (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A
68. Mort (Discworld series) - 8/10 = B+
69. Hrolf Kraki's Saga (BFS Award) - 9/10 = A-
70. The Body in the Library (audiobook/Christie bibliography) - 8/10 = B+
71. Minecraft Construction Handbook (Charlie's bedtime read-aloud, 95 pages) - 8/10 = B
72. Garram the Hunter (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
73. The Island on Bird Street (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
74. The Fairy-Tale Detectives (Charlie's book club read) - 8/10= B
75. A Lear of the Steppes (Books by Year, 1870) - 7/10 = C
76. Henry and Beezus (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = B+
77. Banner in the Sky (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
78. Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids (because I wanted to) - 8/10 = B-
79. Emil and the Detectives (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
80. Norse Mythology (audiobook, Gaiman bibliography) - 10/10 = A
81. Five Little Pigs (audiobook, Christie bibliography) - 8/10 = B+
82. The Thief (series re-read to get ready for the new entry) - 10/10 = A+
83. Ida B (Charlie's book club) - 8/10 = B+

84. Towards Zero (audiobook, Christie bibliography) - 8/10 = B+
85. Sparkling Cyanide (audiobook, Christie bibliography) - 8/10 = B+
86. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C-
87. The Secret River (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
88. Cinder (audiobook, Summer Book Bingo Challenge: read a book from Overdrive) - 9/10 = A
89. Malevil (Campbell Award) - 9/10 = A
90. Vassa in the Night (Summer Book Bingo Challenge: close your eyes and pick a book off the library shelves) - 10/10 = A+
91. Lumberjanes #1 (Summer Book Bingo Challenge: read a graphic novel) - 9/10 = A-
92. Ood-Le-Uk the Wanderer (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
93. The Full Cupboard of Life (series my mom wants me to read) - 8/10 = B+
94. 4.50 from Paddington (audiobook/Christie bibliography) - 8/10 = B+
95. Henry and Ribsy (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A-
96. The Queen of Attolia (series re-read) - 10/10 = A+
97. Orbitsville (BSFA) - 8/10 = B
98. The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
99. The Great Wheel (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
100. Fortunately, the Milk (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A+
101. Pocket Full of Rye (Christie bibliography, audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
102. Murder in Mesopotamia (Christie bibliography, 264 pages) - 8/10 = B+
103. Rescuing the Spectacled Bear (Fry bibliography, 191 pages) - 8/10 = B+
104. Ready Player One (read soon shelf, 372 pages) - 10/10 = A+
105. Book, Line and Sinker (series I'm reading with my mom, 274 pages) - 9/10 = A-
106. Skein of the Crime (series I'm reading with my mom, 290 pages) - 9/10 = A-
107. Arabic Poems (read soon shelf, 279 pages) - 8/10 = B+
108. Confessions of a Pagan Nun (read soon shelf, 188 pages) - 9/10 = A

109. Postern of Fate (Christie bibliography/audiobook) - 8/10 = B
110. The Clocks (Christie bibliography/audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
111. Sci-Fi Junior High (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = B
112. The Raven Boys (Summer Book Bingo Challenge: Read something recommended by a librarian) - 10/10 = A
113. The Road from Home (Newbery Honor Book/Summer Book Bingo Challenge: read a book from the teen shelves) - 8/10 = B
114. Zootopia Comics Collection (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = B
115. Murder on the Orient Express (Summer Book Bingo Challenge: read a book before you see the movie) - 10/10 = A
116. Tobacco Road (Summer Book Bingo Challenge: read a book with a terrible cover) - 6/10 = D
117. Tom Paine, Freedom's Apostle (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
118. The Midnight Folk (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
119. The Fairy Circus (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
120. Henry and the Paper Route (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = B+
121. A Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Re-read) - 9/10 = A
122. Abel's Island (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
123. The Minpins (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
124. A Midsummer Tempest (Mythopoeic) - 7/10 = C
125. The Upstairs Room (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
126. Sourcery (Discworld series) - 8/10 = B+
127. The Great Gilly Hopkins (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A-
128. The Family Under the Bridge (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
129. The Last of the Mohicans (audiobook, NEH) - 7/10 = C-
130. The Ruby in the Smoke (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B

131. The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Charlie's Book Club) - 9/10 = A
132. The Family from One End Street (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
133. Chúcaro (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
134. The Martian Chronicles (audiobook/NEH) - 9/10 = A
135. Amber Brown Is Tickled Pink (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = B+
136. Boy of the South Seas (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
137. Sugaring Time (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A-
138. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (Campbell) - 8/10 = B+
139. The Wyrd Sisters (Discworld) - 9/10 = A-
140. The Devil's Arithmetic (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 = A
141. One-Eyed Cat (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
142. The Gammage Cup (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
143. The Poet's Dog (public library book) - 8/10 = B+
144. Shabanu (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
145. Circus Shoes (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
146. Looking for Alibrandi (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C+
147. Wonder (Charlie's bed-time read) - 9/10 = A

148. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (WFA) - 8/10 = B+
149. The Dream Thieves (series read) - 9/10 = A
150. The Enormous Crocodile (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A-
151. Out of the Flame (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
152. A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author (Charlie's read-aloud bedtime book) - 8/10 = B+
153. The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane (Newbery Honor Book) - 6/10 = D
154. The Count of Monte Cristo (audiobook, NEH) - 10/10 = A+
155. Pagan's Crusade (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
156. Pyramids (Discworld series) - 8/10 = B-
157. A Raisin in the Sun (NEH) - 8/10 = B+
158. The King of Attolia (series re-read) - 10/10 = A+
159. The Old Man and the Sea (NEH) - 8/10 = B+
160. Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties (Charlie's bedtime read-aloud book) - 9/10 = A-
161. Foxtrot: Assembled with Care (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A-
162. Among the Hidden (Charlie's Book Club read) - 8/10 = B
163. The Ship That Flew (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 = A-
164. Henry and the Clubhouse (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = B+
165. Hiroshima (audiobook, NEH) - 8/10 = B+
166. Tomorrow, When the War Began (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-

167. A Conspiracy of Kings (series read) - 10/10 = A+
168. Heart's Delight (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
169. Jane's Island (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
170. Belling the Tiger (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
171. Guards! Guards! (Discworld read) - 8/10 = B
172. Thick as Thieves (Queen's Thief series read) - 10/10 = A+
173. Rowan of Rin (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
174. The Truce of the Wolf (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
175. A to Z Mysteries: The Bald Bandit (Charlie's read aloud) - 8/10 = B
176. No Talking (Charlie's book club) - 8/10 = B
177. Blue Lily, Lily Blue (series read) - 9/10 = A
178. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (audiobook/NEH) - 9/10 = A-
179. The Loner (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
180. Switchers (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
181. Mr. Pants: Trick or Feet (Charlie's bedtime read-aloud) - 10/10 = A+
182. The Raven King (series read) - 10/10 = A+
183. The Animal Family (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
184. The Moves Make the Man (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
185. The Virginian (audiobook/NEH) - 9/10 = A-
186. The Infamous Ratsos (CCBC) - 8/10 = B+
187. The Forever War (Hugo, Nebula & Locus SF awards) - 8/10 = B+

188. The Westing Game (Charlie's bedtime read) - 10/10 = A+
189. The Moorchild (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
190. The Jungle (audiobook, NEH list) - 8/10 = B+
191. The Cherry Orchard (audiobook, NEH list) - 6/10 = D
192. Five on a Treasure Island (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C+
193. Eric (Discworld series) - 8/10 = B-
194. Ramona and Her Father (Charlie's book club read) - 8/10 = B+
195. Children of the Soil (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
196. The Noonday Friends (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
197. The Age of Innocence (NEH/audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
198. To The Lighthouse (NEH/audiobook) - 8/10 = B
199. Swords of Steel (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
200. Man Plus (Nebula) - 8/10 = B+
201. Moving Pictures (Discworld) - 8/10 = B
202. Born a Crime (audiobook) - 9/10 = A
203. The Best Man (audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
204. River Boy (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
205. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Charlie's bedtime read) - 9/10 = A
206. A Midnight Clear (holiday read) - 7/10 = C-

207. A Christmas Memory (holiday read) - 10/10 = A+
208. The Magic Finger (Charlie's bedtime read) - 8/10 = B+
209. The King's Fifth (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
210. Native Son (NEH, audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
211. All's Faire in Middle School (Joe recommended) - 9/10 = A
212. Lord of Misrule (NBA, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
213. The Girl of Knossos (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
214. Redeployment (NBA, audiobook) - 9/10 = A-

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 11:28am Top

The Charlie, Mario and Tuppence Toppers:

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 11:30am Top

The Bonus Question:

For those of you who put up Christmas decorations, do you have a favorite decoration or ornament? One with special meaning?

For those of you who don't do Christmas, do you have a favorite/special knick-knack in your house?

Nov 30, 2017, 11:38am Top

Hah! First! We collect ornaments from places we go, so a bunch of ours have meaning to us.

Nov 30, 2017, 11:45am Top

Hiya, Amber. Happy New Thread!

We have a paper cup, one-eyed (now one eye - it started with two) reindeer decoration that our son made when he was little, and we always put it on the very top of the tree, after all the other ornaments are on. For years I lifted him up to put it on top - recently we've joked that he should lift me up.

We also celebrate Hanukkah in our house, and my favorite tradition there is that on one of the days the four of us all write letters to each other. As Debbi pointed out, we're going to have to add one when the grandbaby shows up.

Nov 30, 2017, 11:57am Top

Happy new one, Amber!

I go hot and cold on decorating for the holidays - some years I am very into it and then others it just seems like a chore. But I always put out a wooden snowman carved from birch that we got on our honeymoon :)

Nov 30, 2017, 12:12pm Top

>7 drneutron: Jim: FIRST! Woot!!

I love the idea of getting ornaments from places you travel! Neat!

>8 jnwelch: Joe: Oh, LOVE that. Our tree has a few of those homemade ornaments now, too. In a couple of years maybe you'll be lifting Raffa up to put that one-eyed reindeer on the tree...

>9 katiekrug: Hi, Katie!
Aw, romantic honeymoon snowman. Adorable!

Nov 30, 2017, 12:20pm Top

Happy new thread!

I have a lot of special ornaments -- I've never been one for themed decorating, so I just keep things that have special meaning or appeal to my taste. But one of my favorites, growing up, was a set of ceramic angels that my mom painted. I would make up stories about them and their adventures.

Nov 30, 2017, 12:49pm Top

Happy new thread, Amber.

I have cut way back on decorating in the last few years but I still put up a display on the mantelpiece. My favourite pieces for that display are the angels that my friend sent me over the years. They are obviously hand crafted.

Nov 30, 2017, 2:22pm Top

>11 foggidawn: Thanks!
You've reminded me of how I used to play for *hours* with my family's pixie pond display. We had a round mirror that would go down in the middle, and we'd get that snow-in-a-can stuff to spray on it. Then I'd play with the little figurines that looked like ice skaters, pushing them around on the mirror and making tracks in the spray-on snow. So fun.

>12 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg!
Your angels sound lovely.

Nov 30, 2017, 2:33pm Top

My Sacred Ornament is a radium-painted bauble from my maternal grandparents' first Yule together in 1915. It lives in its own special red velvet box and comes out one day a year.

Nov 30, 2017, 2:45pm Top

Happy new thread!

Trees go up on Saturday (first Saturday in December). We have a tradition of buying one new decoration each for the trees around the itme we put them up - it's led to some weird and wonderful oddities!

Trees is purely because we have our old one that used to dwarf out lounge - its so small in this house, so we pop it at the top of the stairs and it lights up the hall :) Bigger one in the lounge.

Nov 30, 2017, 2:49pm Top

>14 richardderus: Richard: Oooh, very cool!

>15 BekkaJo: Thanks, Bekka!
We buy new ornaments every year, too - one for Charlie and one as a family one. The only slightly frustrating thing is that both sets of grandparents think that they need to buy Charlie another ornament every year, too, so our tree is getting ridiculous at this point.

Nov 30, 2017, 3:28pm Top

Happy new thread, Amber!
No christmas tree here, the last one was over 15 years ago. Some years I decorate the house plants, no special ornaments, the ones I use are all at least 20 years old :-)

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 3:49pm Top

Happy new thread, Amber!

Having moved out only 5 years, I'm still slowing building my Christmas decoration stash. However, one of my favourite decorations that my mom has is a Christmas pyramid that has the full nativity in it. It looks a bit like this one but mom's is much nicer (and I believe from Germany):

Nov 30, 2017, 3:51pm Top

>18 MickyFine: Ooohhh, I love that pyramid nativity! And build your ornament collection slowly, so it will be more meaningful...buy boxes of Shiny Brite ornaments at yard sales to fill in as the collection grows.

Nov 30, 2017, 4:11pm Top

>19 richardderus: Isn't it pretty? It looks lovely with the candles lit and the whole thing spinning.

I only have a 3-foot artificial tree (joys of apartment living) so my ornament collection is pretty sparse right now anyway. I've got a couple sentimental ones and then just some shiny baubles that I picked up for cheap/free so the tree doesn't look bare.

My mom decided decades ago that the theme for her Christmas tree is snowflakes so she has tons of snowflake decorations. I feel like it's a good approach to tree decorating but haven't decided what aesthetic I like best. :)

Nov 30, 2017, 4:22pm Top

Happy new thread Amber my dear.

Nov 30, 2017, 4:23pm Top

>20 MickyFine: It's all that, I am sure. As to your aesthetic for trees, don't be afraid to change, and never forget that boxes are good for storage. Things can go into a flattish box and stay there for *years* before being resurrected when the tree gets bigger.

Nov 30, 2017, 5:38pm Top

>17 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita! Old ornaments are the best! And I love the idea of decorating house plants!

>18 MickyFine: Micky: Oh, I LOVE those candles-make-the-propeller-go things! So cool.

>19 richardderus: Richard: Christmas ornaments at yard sales always make me sad. It's the wrong time of the year, plus why don't they want them anymore?!

>20 MickyFine: We don't have a theme, other than just family memories. I love the hodge-podge look for trees.

>21 johnsimpson: Thanks, John!

Nov 30, 2017, 5:58pm Top

Hi Amber

I'm simply breezing in to say hello. Much Love

Nov 30, 2017, 6:18pm Top

>24 Whisper1: Hi, Linda!

Nov 30, 2017, 6:21pm Top

204. River Boy by Tim Bowler (1001 Children's Books, 207 pages) - 8/10 = B-
A young girl and her parents struggle with her grandfather's swiftly declining health as they all travel back to the rural area where he was born. Jess's grandfather is a painter, and his efforts to finish his last painting seem to be bound to both his own life and the mysterious boy who appears to Jess in the river near their vacation home.
The idea behind this one is really good, and potentially could be a great way to open up a conversation with kids about how to process the death of a loved one. But the writing wasn't great, and the character of Jess seemed a little flat, so the whole thing fell a bit short for me.

Nov 30, 2017, 6:36pm Top

Hi Amber - Happy new thread.

Nov 30, 2017, 8:23pm Top

Happy New Thread, Amber! Hope you are continuing to enjoy Native Son.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:19pm Top

>6 scaifea: Hani has always been very good about celebrating Christmas even from her Muslim background and we always put up a tree come what may.

My favourite ornament or decoration would be Wessel cups. I found them so enticing as a small boy that I cut my mouth on them one Christmas trying to eat them.

Happy new thread, Amber. xx

Nov 30, 2017, 9:52pm Top

>27 BLBera: Thanks, Beth.

>28 msf59: Thanks, Mark! At first I was thinking that Native Son would maybe be one of those books in which nothing really happens and it's all about the angst of the characters, but, well, stuff is, um, happening now. So, yeah.

>29 PaulCranswick: Paul: So what are Wessel cups, then? I tried googling, but didn't have much luck.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:59pm Top

Wassail cups:

At least that's what we called wassail cups that didn't hold wassail....

Nov 30, 2017, 10:00pm Top

>30 scaifea: It seems in modern parlance that they are called baubles nowadays. Yorkshire still uses wessel cups.

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 10:04pm Top

>31 richardderus: Richard is right in that the correct term is Wassall or Wassaill and they were originally mugs or cups for the imbibing of a drink made with mulled ale and other delicious additions. Wessel is a Yorkshire derivative and the Wessel cups morphed into the tree baubles.

Edited: Dec 1, 2017, 6:15am Top

>31 richardderus: - >33 PaulCranswick: Ah! I see. Well, my mom says that when I was tiny, she thought that I swallowed part of one of those; the doc just told her to have me eat as much bread as I could hold, to cushion it on the way out...

Dec 1, 2017, 6:16am Top

On the agenda for today:
Grocery shopping, vacuuming, weekly bills and photos, library volunteering, a quick trip to the library after school and before ballet.

On the reading front:
Still listening to Native Son. Also started reading The King's Fifth.

Dec 1, 2017, 6:18am Top

Dec 1, 2017, 6:58am Top

Morning, Amber. Happy Friday!

Dec 1, 2017, 7:10am Top

Happies of new threads, Amber! Elmo Saves Christmas has been a family favorite around here since Will was a baby!

Dec 1, 2017, 7:40am Top

>37 msf59: Happy Friday, Mark!

>38 Carmenere: Lynda: Thanks! Elmo is one of Charlie's favorites, too.

Dec 1, 2017, 9:20am Top

Happy Friday, Amber!

I liked Island of the Blue Dolphins, but haven't tried any of his other books.

I just finished a GN I suspect you'd like: All's Faire in Middle School. Another good one by the author of Roller Girl.

Dec 1, 2017, 12:51pm Top

>40 jnwelch: Morning, Joe!

I LOVED Island of the Blue Dolphins as a kid, so I'm excited about this one, and so far so good.

I saw that you had mentioned All's Faire in Middle School somewhere else and I'm very interested, because I loved Roller Girl so much. I'll definitely put it on the list - thanks!

ETA: I've just requested it from the library!

Dec 1, 2017, 7:24pm Top

Happy new thread, Amber! How is your read of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix going? It's my least favorite of the books for a few different reasons, but I found I liked it more after the series was finished and explained some of the parts that I found the most aggravating.

In answer to your bonus question, I carry on my mother's tradition of buying an ornament every time I go on vacation, so there are quite a few that have some sort of special meaning. I think, though, that I'd have to say my absolute most important ones are the ones my great-grandmother knit and used as the decoration on Christmas gifts a couple of years when we were kids. I still have two, one a mini stocking that says "Merry Christmas" and the other a bear in a swing.

Dec 1, 2017, 9:57pm Top

>42 bell7: Hi, Mary! We've *just* finishing Phoenix tonight! But, yeah, I think it may be my least favorite as well. Harry is just so irritable all the time (and there's a reason for that, of course, but it doesn't make it less, um, well, irritating?).

I love that you have knitted ornaments from your great-grandmother! That's wonderful.

Dec 2, 2017, 8:43am Top

>42 bell7: Many years ago, I decided the perfect vacation souvenir was an ornament. It could be stored most of the year. When I pick it up each year or view it on the tree, the memories return. My mother made some ornaments I treasure. I have some others made by various friends. I think I even have one or two I cross-stitched. (Those tend to be given away.)

Dec 2, 2017, 10:35am Top

>44 thornton37814: Lori: So do you look specifically for things intended to be tree ornaments, or do you buy trinkets and re-purpose them as ornaments?

Dec 2, 2017, 10:38am Top

On the agenda for today:
Possible cookie making (sugar cut-outs), definite HP-watching (since we finished the book last night), possible trip to the library for the book sale. Hopefully also some reading time.

On the reading front:
Still listening to Native Son. I also read A Midnight Clear yesterday (more on that later) and a bit of Andersonville.

Dec 2, 2017, 10:44am Top

Happy new thread, Amber. I love your thread topper art! The Andersonville one is especially haunting. Years ago, I read John Ransom's Diary, Andersonville. I have the Kantnor novle Andersonville on my to-read list.

Dec 2, 2017, 10:49am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-Dance at Grandpa's
-Farmyard Tales Christmas
Bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside Down Magic
-Enormously Foxtrot
-Murder on the Orient Express

And we finished:
205. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (Charlie's bedtime read, 870 pages) - 9/10 = A
Probably my least favorite of the series, but it's still excellent. Charlie loved it, and handled the ending really well. On to the next one...

Dec 2, 2017, 11:03am Top

206. A Midnight Clear by Katherine Paterson (holiday read, 92 pages) - 7/10 = C-
I was excited about this one because I've really liked other books of hers, but this story collection was dripping with syrupy grumpy-and-mean-people-seeing-the-light-because-it's-Christmas business, and, well, EW. Demonstrably not my thing.

Dec 2, 2017, 11:05am Top

>49 scaifea: *injects emergency book-insulin*


Edited: Dec 2, 2017, 11:11am Top

>50 richardderus: Thanks, Richard, I needed that! Ugh is right. So disappointing from an author I know can write much more sophisticated and subtle stuff.

ETA: A Christmas Memory will be a good remedy, too.

Dec 2, 2017, 11:11am Top

Cheap cliches are *always* disappointing. Unsurprising from inferior artists, but always, always disappointing.

Dec 2, 2017, 11:14am Top

Dec 2, 2017, 11:23am Top

>6 scaifea: Pretty much all of my ornaments/decorations have special meaning because they (nearly) all were either gifts (often handmade) from friends or family or are souvenirs of a trip.

Will Charlie take his ornaments with him when we gets his own home (sometime way in the future)? My mother and I each gave my son an ornament each year and when we established his own home he loved having those to start his collection with and to link him to home.

Dec 2, 2017, 11:28am Top

>54 RebaRelishesReading: Reba: Yep, the plan is that he will take all his ornaments with him once he has his own home (although maybe I'll insist on keeping a couple of those adorable hand-made ones from the preschool years).

Dec 2, 2017, 11:45am Top

Morning, Amber!

Yeah, Order of the Phoenix is my least favorite of the bunch but, as you say, still excellent.

I'm glad you're going to give All's Faire in Middle School a go. I think you'll have a good time with it.

Dec 2, 2017, 3:32pm Top

>45 scaifea: It's probably a bit off a mixture. I try not to get a "ball" unless that's all I can find. I like the more unique ornaments. Sometimes there is something else which will serve the purpose as long as there is a way to make it hang on a tree.

Dec 2, 2017, 4:05pm Top

HP6 is my favourite of the books. The pensieve is such a cool narrative device.

If you make it to the library book sale I hope you snag some gooders. :)

Dec 2, 2017, 4:46pm Top

>58 MickyFine: Micky: I think Goblet of Fire is still my favorite, although the first one comes in a close second. It's hard to choose, really. Plus, I haven't read the last two nearly as often as I have the others at this point.

Dec 2, 2017, 4:54pm Top

207. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (holiday read, 40 pages) - 10/10 = A+
Gosh, but I love this one. It makes me alternately sad and near-deliriously happy, and it's so, so beautifully written. Such a treat. Many thanks to Linda for sending it to Charlie a couple of years ago (and to Charlie for letting me borrow it from his shelves).

Dec 3, 2017, 8:35am Top

On today's agenda:
Cookie baking (since that didn't happen yesterday), laundry, some sewing, some reading. Charlie checked a movie out of the library on Friday that we may watch this afternoon: Ballet Shoes, which has Emma Watson in the lead, it seems.

On the reading front:
After reading A Christmas Memory yesterday, I started my gorgeous Penguin Clothbound Classics edition of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings and I'm pretty excited about it.

Dec 3, 2017, 8:37am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-Lego City: Save This Christmas!
-Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant (public library book, picture book) - 8/10 = B+
And bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside Down Magic
-Enormously Foxtrot
-Murder on the Orient Express
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

And we watched A Child's Christmas in Wales.

Dec 3, 2017, 8:50am Top

>62 scaifea: I'll happily await a cookie or two.

Have a great Sunday, Amber

Dec 3, 2017, 8:55am Top

>47 tymfos: I'm sorry, Terri, but I missed you up there before! Andersonville is definitely a haunting thing, but it's also very good so far.

>63 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! I'm trying out a new cookie recipe today, so fingers crossed.

Dec 3, 2017, 9:08am Top

Morning, Amber! Happy Sunday. Looks like it will be another gorgeous day in the Midwest. I would go for a hike, but we have plenty of stuff to do around here. Putting up the outside Christmas lights is crucial. Winter is coming...

Have a great day.

Dec 3, 2017, 9:29am Top

>65 msf59: Morning, Mark! Have fun with the outside lights - Tomm put ours up last weekend. We need to make a trip around town soon to see all the house lights...

Dec 3, 2017, 1:11pm Top

Happy Sunday, Amber.

Hope all is well at Scaife Manor, and that you're getting some of this beautiful weather.

Dec 3, 2017, 1:50pm Top

Cookies!! Where where where?! Gimme gimme gimme!!

Dec 3, 2017, 1:54pm Top

>67 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Honestly, I haven't been outside today, so I'm not sure what it's like out there. It's sunny, though.

>68 richardderus: Richard: Meh. I'll be going back to my old sugar cookie recipe, although Charlie seems to like these okay.

Dec 3, 2017, 2:23pm Top

*disappointed droop* oh. okay.

Dec 3, 2017, 3:29pm Top

Happy Sunday Amber my dear, I sure can smell those cookies from here, lol.

Dec 3, 2017, 6:01pm Top

>71 johnsimpson: Ha! Thanks, John! I'll not be making them again, although I'm hoping I can alter my favorite sugar cookie recipe so that the cut-outs don't poof.

Dec 4, 2017, 6:15am Top

On the agenda for today:
Charlie has the day off, so we'll be heading down to Dubuque to pick up his retainer, and for a little shopping (shoes for his holiday program), and then for lunch at IHOP (Charlie's choice).

On the reading front:
I spent time with Native Son, The King's Fifth and Reaper Man yesterday.

Dec 4, 2017, 6:17am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-The Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Book
-The Mitten
And bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside-Down Magic
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Charlie has decided that Murder on the Orient Express is a little too complex for him right now (and I've been thinking that it doesn't do well as a read-aloud, too), so we're stopping that one. We may take him to see the movie soon.

Also, we watched The Shop Around the Corner last night.

Dec 4, 2017, 6:35am Top

Morning, Amber. Yep, we got everything done outside yesterday and I, hopefully, worked on the leaves for the last time. Not my favorite outside job.

Hope your Monday goes smoothly.

Dec 4, 2017, 7:09am Top

>75 msf59: Morning, Mark! We had such a rotten fall that we didn't even get to rake the leaves up into a pile for Charlie. They didn't turn into very bright colors and they came down in such a straggling way that Tomm just mulched them up with the mower. Sad.

Dec 4, 2017, 9:07am Top

Morning, Amber!

Ah, too bad about the rotten fall that didn't provide enough leaves for a pile for Charlie. I remember jumping into the pile as being the big reward for all the raking when I was a kid.

Dec 4, 2017, 9:14am Top

Morning, Amber! I also really love A Christmas Memory - Birdy and I were just talking about that one as I intend to reread it this Christmas season.

Dec 4, 2017, 9:44am Top

>77 jnwelch: Joe: It still is a big reward for me! Charlie and I both are disappointed with this year's fall performance.

>78 Crazymamie: Mamie: Isn't it wonderful? Linda (laytonwoman3rd) introduced Charlie and I to it and we're so grateful.

Dec 4, 2017, 9:46am Top

I finally finished Tomm's Ravenclaw scarf!

Dec 4, 2017, 11:56am Top

Beautiful scarf!! Your knitting is amazing -- perfectly even, regular stitches!

Dec 4, 2017, 11:58am Top

>81 RebaRelishesReading: What Reba said! Love that!

Dec 4, 2017, 12:19pm Top

>6 scaifea: (i can't resist the bonus question!)
W chose a little bird Christmas decoration when he was 4, and he had been attached to it since. I love it that he loves it, so its my favourite, and it goes on the top of the tree :)

Cool Ravenclaw scarf.....dumb questions, but is that a Harry Potter thing? I will still like it either way! Even if scarves are the least useful thing to me now, as we face out 4th day straight of hot hot hot weather.

Dec 4, 2017, 2:16pm Top

>81 RebaRelishesReading: >82 Crazymamie: Thanks, ladies!

>83 LovingLit: Megan: Aw I love the thought of W being attached to a particular ornament! So sweet.
And yes, it's a HP thing - Ravenclaw is one of the four school houses.

Dec 4, 2017, 3:55pm Top

Hi Amber my dear, love Tomm's Ravenclaw scarf, you are a clever lady. I saw on Facebook that Charlie had got his retainer and I hope you had a good lunch together. I just loved Charlie's choice of gift, he is a practical lad. Enjoy the rest of your day dear friend, sending love and hugs.

Dec 4, 2017, 4:07pm Top

>85 johnsimpson: Hi, John! Thanks! And yeah, Charlie is a hoot. New flannel sheets are now washed and ready for him to test out tonight.

Dec 5, 2017, 6:21am Top

On today's agenda:
I'm starting to feel the holiday sewing crunch, so I think I'll likely spend most of the day in the sewing room. I need to finish up Charlie's vest, then get started on the pants, and the jacket may not get finished in time for the concert. Then, I have a handful of projects I'd like to make for gifts, but again, I'm not sure that they'll actually happen.

On the reading front:
I managed a bit in both Native Son and The King's Fifth yesterday.

Dec 5, 2017, 6:23am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-Funny Faces: Santa Claus
-The Apple Orchard Riddle by Margaret McNamara (public library book, picture book) - 9/10 = A-
And bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside Down Magic
-Enormously Foxtrot
-The Magic Finger
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

And we watched Frosty the Snowman.

Dec 5, 2017, 6:30am Top

>76 scaifea: Sorry, Charlie didn't get to jump in the pile of leaves. Sad face.

Morning, Amber! Wind gusts through the night, turning this weather around. Back to the long-underpants for the rest of the week. Sighs...

Dec 5, 2017, 7:50am Top

>89 msf59: Morning, Mark! Sadface, indeed. And this morning his mouth is pretty sore from the new retainer, so there are definitely sad faces in evidence at Scaife Manor today.

Yeah, we're down into the 20s here this morning. Chilly! Stay warm, friend.

Dec 5, 2017, 8:54am Top

Morning, Amber - just checking in. I lurk too much.... :)

Dec 5, 2017, 9:03am Top

>91 katiekrug: Hi, Katie! Meh, I lurk a ton, too. S'okay.

Dec 5, 2017, 10:28am Top

The vest is finished:

Dec 5, 2017, 10:28am Top


Dec 5, 2017, 10:29am Top

Thanks, Jim!

Dec 5, 2017, 11:02am Top

>93 scaifea: Wow! That one's a knockout, Amber. His friends and fellow students must be amazed at times by what Charlie wears.

Morning! Maybe that'll help balance a bit the lousy pain of a retainer.

Dec 5, 2017, 11:23am Top

>96 jnwelch: Morning, Joe! Thanks! I think he's gonna look pretty sharp, eh?

I keep thinking about him this morning, hoping that he's feeling okay...

Dec 5, 2017, 12:09pm Top

Damn you're talented lady!!!

Dec 5, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>98 RebaRelishesReading: Ha! Thanks, Reba!

Dec 5, 2017, 3:37pm Top

Hi Amber my dear, what a great Waistcoat (Vest), I wish I had one like this as I love a good Waistcoat and need a nice one to go with one of my jackets. You are a mighty talented lady.

Hope you are having a good week so far dear friend and send love and hugs to you all.

Dec 5, 2017, 4:47pm Top

>100 johnsimpson: Thanks so much, John - I'm glad you like it! I love 'em, too, and have a black one that I made for myself!

Dec 5, 2017, 11:25pm Top

>93 scaifea: WOW!! I want one too! Lucky Charlie to get such spiffy holiday duds.

Dec 6, 2017, 6:13am Top

>102 richardderus: Thanks, Richard! It was a hoot to make, and I can't wait to see him in the complete get-up.

Dec 6, 2017, 6:16am Top

On the agenda for today:
Tuppence has a laser treatment this morning, then I'll spend the rest of the day before library volunteering in the sewing room. Charlie has ballet class tonight. Chicken Biryani for dinner tonight, I think.

On the reading front:
Native Son is still going strong (so intense right now). I also spent some time with The King's Fifth and War and Peace yesterday.

Dec 6, 2017, 6:18am Top

Dec 6, 2017, 6:28am Top

Good morning, Amber! How did young Charles do with his retainer yesterday? I never had one of those so I don’t know how long it takes for the soreness to ease, but hopefully he’s feeling better.

Dec 6, 2017, 6:31am Top

>106 rosalita: Morning, Julia!

He did just fine yesterday, the (no so) little trooper (anymore). He said that it was a little sore, but wasn't too bad, but then when we got home, he got straight into his pajamas and hung out on the couch for a while, and then actually crawled into bed for a bit before dinner (which is unheard of for him). I can't decide if he's coming down with something or if the constant soreness yesterday just wore him out. But he's still wearing it and not complaining at all. What a guy, eh?

Dec 6, 2017, 6:44am Top

He’s a keeper, for sure!

Dec 6, 2017, 7:15am Top

Morning, Amber! I am enjoying a day off. These are especially nice in the cold months. Good luck to Charlie, with the retainer. I wore braces as a kid too but it is too long ago for me to remember any particular discomfort.

Dec 6, 2017, 7:32am Top

>108 rosalita: Julia: Agreed!

>109 msf59: Morning, Mark! Yay for a day off! I had braces and a retainer, too, and I didn't mind the braces but really didn't like the retainer. Charlie may need braces later on, depending on how his other teeth come in; this retainer is to fix the one upper front tooth that has an underbite.

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 8:45am Top

Good morning, Amber!

If we can get through today all right, the rest of the week is fun downhill sledding.

Dec 6, 2017, 9:11am Top

Morning, Amber! I was lucky and never had braces or a retainer, but all of the kids had both - and universally hated the retainer. Hoping Charlie's adjustment goes quickly, the poor dear.

Dec 6, 2017, 9:32am Top

>11 foggidawn: Morning, Joe! Woot!

>12 Familyhistorian: Morning, Mamie! He's such a trooper and still hasn't complained. This morning we looked at his bite, and he was excited that we can already see a change - I think being able to see emerging results helps, too.

Dec 6, 2017, 9:40am Top

Yep - being able to see that the retainer is working is a big deal. And I forgot to say that the vest you made him looks brilliant - good work!

Dec 6, 2017, 10:53am Top

>114 Crazymamie: Aw, thanks, Mamie!

Dec 6, 2017, 11:08am Top

Are you cooking the biryani? If so, wanna share he recipe?

Dec 6, 2017, 11:42am Top

>116 drneutron: Jim: I am! Here's the recipe, which comes from Complete Indian Cooking:

Chicken Biriyani
• 4 chicken breasts
• 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
• ¼ onion, chopped
• 4 bay leaves
• 1 ¾ cups rice
• 3 ¾ cups warm water
• salt
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• ¼ onion, chopped
• ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
• 2-inch piece fresh ginger root
• ½ cup plain yogurt
• 1 teaspoon salt
Biriyani Spices
• 4 cloves
• 8 black peppercorns
• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick
• ½ teaspoon turmeric

1. Grind all the paste ingredients together in a food processor to make a smooth mixture.
2. Rub paste over chicken and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oil in skillet and add onion.
4. Fry until golden.
5. Mix together biriyani spices without grinding.
6. Add them with the bay leaves to the onion in the skillet, stir well, then add chicken.
7. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, 10 minutes on each side.
8. Stir in rice, then add the warm water and some salt.
9. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender and all water absorbed.

Dec 6, 2017, 11:53am Top

Ooo, chicken biryani! A favorite of mine since forever. Enjoy it.

Dec 6, 2017, 12:01pm Top


Dec 6, 2017, 2:04pm Top

>118 richardderus: Richard: One of mine, too.

>119 drneutron: You're welcome, Jim! I should mention, that I've altered the original recipe a bit, which calls for chicken parts (wings, thighs,...); I always just use breasts.

Dec 7, 2017, 6:16am Top

On today's agenda:
Tomm and I are taking Mario to Madison for an appointment with a veterinary opthamologist. Not big deal, just checking to make sure that her left eye is good and healthy and doesn't show signs of forming a sudden cataract like her right eye has. Should be an adventure - Mario gets pretty excitable about car rides and this one will be 1.3 hours each way. Should get back just in time for me to get my library volunteering in before school is over for the day. Asian Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner, I think.

On the reading front:
I spent some time with Native Son yesterday while sewing, and read bits of Andersonville and The King's Fifth yesterday. I'm hoping to finish up the latter today.

Dec 7, 2017, 6:35am Top

Morning, Amber. Surprised to see a light coating of snow on the ground, when I came downstairs. As long as it stays "light", I am not complaining.

Enjoy your day.

Dec 7, 2017, 7:18am Top

>121 scaifea: Good luck with Mario, I hope it turns out that her eye is still in good shape.

Dec 7, 2017, 7:43am Top

>123 msf59: Morning, Mark! Charlie was *so* excited about the little bit of snow this morning!

>124 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! Here's hoping that her left eye stays healthy; she's doing just fine with the one cataract, but if the other eye gets one, too, we'll need to have them removed. Fingers crossed.

Dec 7, 2017, 8:51am Top

Morning, Amber! Crossing my fingers that Mario gets the all clear - literally! Our Bella is developing a cataract in her right eye, and she is already completely blind in her other eye because of a cataract.

Dec 7, 2017, 9:05am Top

>126 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie! Mario's cataract came on literally overnight and it was pretty scary. Apparently that's really rare for such a young pupper, so we're hoping that the other eye stays healthy. Poor Bella - will you opt for having them removed?

Dec 7, 2017, 9:13am Top

That is very scary. We are waiting for the second one to fully develop, and then we will see where she is at with her health. She is ten and has severe allergies - she cannot be vaccinated at all. We try to be very careful with what procedures we put her through, but I would opt for the surgery if she is doing well when she gets to that stage.

Dec 7, 2017, 9:56am Top

Sweet Thursday, Amber!

Sorry to hear about Mamie's Bella, and your Mario. They do so well these days with human cataracts, but I guess not for dogs?

Dec 7, 2017, 10:46am Top

>129 jnwelch: I think they do great with dogs, too, Joe, but it is expensive.

Dec 7, 2017, 11:33am Top

Oh dear, poor Mario. Happy travel *whammys*

Dec 7, 2017, 2:04pm Top

Well, we've been there and back again. Mario's good eye looks great, the doc says, so that's very good news. She gave us some tips on how to look for signs of worsening in the cataract eye and for warning signs of trouble with the good one. So that's the good news. The not-so-awesome news: Mario gets car-sick. And this was an hour-plus drive both ways. And yep, she vomited. In the car. Faaaaaaantastic. But, still, great news on the eye front, so, whew!

>128 Crazymamie: Aw, poor Bella! Here's hoping that her cataract is extremely slow to develop, then. Give her some gentle ear scritches for me, please.

>129 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Mamie's right, that dogs can do pretty great with cataracts, especially just in one eye (Mario can still see out of that eye, but everything's just a bit blurry). We did learn today, though, that those cataracts can lead to other more serious stuff later on, like glaucoma and such.

>130 Crazymamie: Mamie: Sing it, sister. Vet stuff can be so expensive, and so we're glad that Mario can do just fine without having this cataract removed.

>131 richardderus: Thanks, Richard! She's going fine now, and happily made new friends at the vet specialist's office.

Dec 7, 2017, 2:09pm Top

Too bad about the carsick doggie, Amber. I have a hair-trigger gag reflex so I'm pretty sure I would have been urping right alongside her, poor thing!

My dear Odie ended up completely blind after developing diabetes in the last couple years of his life. He did surprisingly well in the house and around the yard, except for not wanting to go up and down stairs (understandable!). Fortunately he was small enough I could just pick him up and carry him. It's great they were able to tell you what to watch for if the cataracts develop further.

Dec 7, 2017, 2:19pm Top

>133 rosalita: Julia: I have that gag reflex, too. We were only 2 minutes from the vet's office when she vomited, so we didn't have far to go with the smell, and it's more the sight and the *shudder* feel of it while cleaning it up that triggers my sympathy-vomiting. So, guess who took Mario on into the office while leaving Long-Suffering Spouse to clean it up...? To be fair, it was *his* car, so...

Oh, Odie. Good for his for getting along so well. Susie was that way, too, at the end: blind as a bat and could find her way around the house just fine.

Dec 7, 2017, 4:39pm Top

Oh! Poor Mario with the car sickness - no fun for any of you. Craig has that same gag reflex, so guess who always cleaned up ALL the vomit ever from four dogs and four kids? Heh.

Dec 7, 2017, 4:44pm Top

>135 Crazymamie: Mamie: No good trait goes unpunished, eh?

Dec 7, 2017, 4:53pm Top


Dec 7, 2017, 4:57pm Top

>137 Crazymamie: I've discovered that the old chestnut about mothers being able to clean up every sort of mess their child produces is totally false. Tomm has cleaned up all of Charlie's vomit, too. I just can't. Well, I could, but I'd be adding to it as I did. The worst was a couple of years ago when he projectile vomited *into* one of our heating vents. YOICKS.

Dec 7, 2017, 5:01pm Top

YIKES! Craig has definitely done his fair share of the work - just not the vomit, which is totally not his fault.

Dec 8, 2017, 6:19am Top

On the agenda for today:
Grocery shopping this morning, vacuuming, weekly bills and photo organizing, possibly a bit of baking (Gingerbread), and library volunteering. After school Charlie has ballet class and then we'll grab him a quick dinner somewhere (McDonald's probably) before heading to the public library for Hide n' Seek in the Library, a special program for 7-11yo kids: they're closing the library to the public from 6-730 and the children's librarians will lead the kids in hide-n-seek type games all round the new library. Charlie is over the moon about it. I'm pretty excited, too, because it means Tomm and I get to go out to dinner, just the two of us, which doesn't happen very often these days.

On the reading front:
Still working on Native Son, although I feel like I may finish it today, or at least come close. I also spent some time with Reaper Man yesterday, and I finished The King's Fifth (mini-review to follow at some point today).

Dec 8, 2017, 6:23am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-Spin Me A Story: Jingle Bells
-The Little House
And bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside Down Magic
-Enormously Foxtrot
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

We finished:
208. The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl (Charlie's bedtime read, 63 pages) - 8/10 = B+
A little girl has magic in one of her fingers: when she gets angry at some injustice or another, her finger starts tingling, and whomever she points it at suffers a silly retribution.
Not one of my favorite Dahl books, although I do definitely appreciate the message behind it.

Dec 8, 2017, 8:08am Top

209. The King's Fifth by Scott O'Dell (Newbery Honor Book, 264 pages) - 8/10 = B
While in jail facing trail for stealing from the King and murdering his commander, a young Spanish mapmaker keeps a journal of his adventures in Coronado's army and his evolution from a boy wanting to explore for the sake of exploration to a young man becoming obsessed with the gold that they find.
I went into this one expecting to love it as much as I loved O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins. I didn't. It's still a fair read, but for some reason it didn't pull me in as I wanted it to.

Dec 8, 2017, 8:58am Top

Happy Friday, Amber!

Hide and seek in the new library reminds me of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, a fun book.

Dec 8, 2017, 10:16am Top

>143 jnwelch: Morning, Joe! I need to get round to that one soon.

Dec 8, 2017, 10:43am Top

Cassie really liked that one - and both of my two really enjoyed the recent adaptation.

Happy Friday from me too Amber :)

Dec 8, 2017, 10:51am Top

Oooh, enjoy your date night with Tomm! Do you have a restaurant picked out already?

Dec 8, 2017, 10:56am Top

>132 scaifea: Glad Mario's eye looked great, sorry she was carsick :-(
We had good results with pills for carsickness that are used for children (recommended by our vet).

Dec 8, 2017, 11:07am Top

>145 BekkaJo: Bekka: I didn't realize there's a movie, too!

>146 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I think we're going to our favorite Mexican place.

>147 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. They offered us some anti-nausea medicine, but said that it takes 2 hours to kick in and we didn't want to wait that long before coming home. We'll definitely get some, though, if we have to go back!

Dec 8, 2017, 11:07am Top

Happy date night!

Chris Grabenstein is a Twitter friend and a lovely man. The whole Lemoncello series is fun.

Dec 8, 2017, 11:37am Top

>149 richardderus: Thanks, Richard! Good to know about Grabenstein.

Dec 8, 2017, 2:49pm Top

210. Native Son by Richard Wright (NEH, audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
Powerful, tense and moving, this story of a young black man in 1950's Chicago stumbling from a life of petty crimes into one of a wanted and then convicted murderer via a series of tragically bad decisions is unbelievably stark and bleak and, above all, heart-breakingly relevant still. This is one of those books that should be required reading for everyone. Everyone.

Dec 8, 2017, 5:01pm Top

>151 scaifea: Oh, that's a good one! So heart-breaking.

On a completely unrelated topic (except they are both books, I guess) — do you have a learned opinion on the new Emily Wilson translation of The Odyssey? Do you classicist colleagues recommend it? Is there another translation you think would be better? I'm thinking of giving it as a Christmas gift and want to get a solid, accessible version for someone who isn't very familiar with the classics but would like to be.

Edited: Dec 8, 2017, 8:19pm Top

>152 rosalita: Julia: Yes, so very heart-breaking, mostly that shit doesn't seemed to have changed at all.

On the new Odyssey translation: I'm afraid I can't help much because I haven't read it. Now that I'm not teaching, I don't have need to keep up with new translations and I already have a very-favorite (Stanley Lombardo's), so to be honest with you, I don't have any plans to read it anytime soon and I haven't heard my classicist friends talking about it much, either. Sorry!

ETA: The Lombardo is amazingly accessible - a very modern translation that also manages to stay true to the original. I highly recommend it as your gift.

Dec 9, 2017, 9:11am Top

On today's agenda:
We're taking Charlie to Madison to see The Nutcracker this afternoon! Woot!

On the reading front:
I started listening to Lord of Misrule, started reading All's Faire in Middle School, and read a bit more of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings yesterday.

Dec 9, 2017, 9:40am Top

>153 scaifea: Thanks, Amber. I'll have a look for the Lombardo. Enjoy The Nutcracker!

Dec 9, 2017, 9:48am Top

Morning, Amber. Happy Saturday. Enjoy your weekend.

Dec 9, 2017, 9:52am Top

>156 rosalita: Morning, Julia! We're pretty excited about the Nutcracker outing!

>157 msf59: Morning, Mark! Thanks!

Dec 9, 2017, 12:05pm Top

Morning, Amber!

I'm probably going to get The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson as a holiday gift, so I should be able to report back at some point. My favorite translation so far, like you, is the Stanley Lombardo one.

Dec 9, 2017, 12:15pm Top

I already know I'm getting the new Wilson translation of The Odyssey because I ordered it, but I've never read the Lombardo translation and now feel I must.


Off to the library.

Dec 9, 2017, 12:23pm Top

>159 jnwelch: >160 richardderus: Joe & Richard: I know I've said this before, but if you ever get a chance to see Lombardo doing a reading of his translations, do it. He's amazing.

Dec 9, 2017, 12:32pm Top

>161 scaifea: *sigh*again* Not only does the library not have it, the county system doesn't have it. And I'm sadly unable to do things like readings!

*sigh*yet again* Poor poor pitiful me. Woe.

Dec 9, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>162 richardderus: Interlibrary loan time?

Dec 9, 2017, 8:31pm Top

>79 scaifea: Awww....thanks for the nod, Amber.

>6 scaifea: I'd say my favorite Christmas tree ornaments are hand-crocheted snowflakes and angels, some of which were actually made by my Aunt Dotty.

Dec 9, 2017, 8:35pm Top

>162 richardderus: Oh, sorry, Richard.

>163 MickyFine: Micky: Great idea!

>164 laytonwoman3rd: Linda: It's the truth - I'm so very grateful to you for introducing us to that one. So, so good. And I love those handmade snowflake ornaments! They're so lovely.

Dec 9, 2017, 9:00pm Top

>163 MickyFine: After the New Year, possibly; I have a group read of the Wilson translation in March so that'll be the best time to revisit past glories.

Dec 10, 2017, 9:08am Top

On the agenda for today:
Tomm leaves for a business trip this morning, so it's just Charlie and I for a few days. I may do some more baking today (a coffee cake, maybe, for this week's breakfasts), and I may spend some time in the sewing room. I suspect there will be some board games played this afternoon, too.

On the reading front:
I read most of All's Faire in Middle School yesterday and will likely finish it today, and I read a bit of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings yesterday, too.

The Nutcracker was fabulous. The sets were beautiful and the dancers were top-notch. Charlie was entranced, and I admit that I was, too! Poor Tomm, though, had to sit next to a little kiddo who wasn't very well behaved and kept jigging in his seat and poking Tomm, who has a very low tolerance for such things. I offered to switch seats with him, at the intermission, but he soldiered on.

Dec 10, 2017, 9:09am Top

Dec 10, 2017, 9:30am Top

I'm glad you and Charlie enjoyed the snoozefest ballet! I think I was about his age when I saw The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center and it was pretty magical.

I'm with Tomm on the annoying child and low tolerance :)

Dec 10, 2017, 9:34am Top

>169 katiekrug: Katie: I haven't seen many ballets, to be honest, but I've enjoyed them all. I get wrapped up in the absolute talent of the dancers and how gorgeous their moves can be. Charlie is excited because next year his ballet group will do the Nutcracker and he's dreaming of which parts he would like to play.
As for the annoying kiddo, I would happily have changed places with Tomm; volunteering in the school library every day has taught me a few tricks for getting along with the rowdy ones and I would have tried to make friends. Not sure if it would have worked, but it would have been worth a shot.

Dec 10, 2017, 9:51am Top

I always find the differences in what move and inspire people to be so interesting. I can appreciate ballet and modern dance but they are not art forms that I am passionate about - which is good, because I am already spending too much time and money trying to do All The Things that are now just a short train ride away from me!

Dec 10, 2017, 11:13am Top

>171 katiekrug: Katie: Oh, gosh, it would be so tempting to live that close to so many artistic goodies!

Dec 10, 2017, 12:11pm Top

Happy Sunday, Amber! Glad that the ballet was a hit yesterday - that is Abby's favorite.

Dec 10, 2017, 12:21pm Top

Morning Amber! Happy Sunday. I have not cracked a book yet but I am hoping for some book time this afternoon.

Hope you have a nice one planned.

Dec 10, 2017, 12:42pm Top

>173 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! We had a blast. And we definitely want to check out more going on at the Overture Center in Madison - such a lovely venue.

>174 msf59: Hi, Mark! So far we've made Gingerbread Cookies and now we're gearing up for a Mario Kart Marathon. So, yeah, it's shaping up to be a good day.

Dec 10, 2017, 1:22pm Top

Happy Sunday, Amber!

Dec 10, 2017, 3:02pm Top

Gingerbread cookies! Yum!!

Dec 10, 2017, 3:11pm Top

>176 jnwelch: Hi, Joe!

>177 richardderus: Richard: They're one of my favorites, and it's a hoot to decorate them with Charlie.

Dec 10, 2017, 3:53pm Top

211. All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (Joe recommendation, graphic novel) - 9/10 = A
Imogene has been homeschooled so far, spending her time in the shop that her mother runs at a local renaissance faire, but now she's starting middle school and needs to learn how to negotiate the strange land of the pre-teen social scene.
This one is just as fun and sweet at Jamieson's first graphic novel, Roller Girl. Highly recommended.

Dec 10, 2017, 4:49pm Top

>179 scaifea: Glad you enjoyed that one. I read it recently and loved it.

Glad you all enjoyed the ballet. Poor Tomm. There's a famous family story about my dad getting stuck in such a situation and sternly telling the kid to sit still and be quiet. Which the kid commenced to do, to the great bewilderment of the rest of his family!

Dec 10, 2017, 5:21pm Top

>167 scaifea: Poor Tomm. :) I took my daughter to the Nutcracker for the first time when she was 3. I didn't think she would last through the whole thing, but for her it was absolutely magical. We had balcony seats and she stood on tippy toe with her tiny hands gripping the balcony rail almost the entire show. We've been going ever since. I think we only missed the Christmases in NZ because they weren't putting it on. Apparently it's not a yearly thing there. Anyway, I love it, but more because of seeing it through my daughter's eyes. I will look forward to finding out what part Charlie gets next year. Personally, I'd want to be the King Rat. Ha!

Dec 10, 2017, 5:26pm Top

Dec 10, 2017, 9:47pm Top

>180 lycomayflower: Laura: It was fabulous. I'm officially a Jamieson fan, because Roller Girl was great, too.
I'm sort of surprised that Tomm didn't grouse at the kid, to be honest.

>181 nittnut: Jenn: By this time next year I may well have had enough of the Nutcracker to last for the rest of my life. We'll see... I agree that the Rat King would be a fun part to play.

>182 jnwelch: Thanks so much, Joe, for recommending it!

Dec 11, 2017, 6:15am Top

On today's agenda:
Sewing, sewing, sewing. I must get those pants done for Charlie, and then behind that is a long line of Christmas projects. Yoicks. No library volunteering today because I need to pick up Charlie a bit early from school for his annual visit to the ophthalmologist this afternoon.

On the reading front:
I spent some time listening to Lord of Misrule yesterday, and also started reading The Winged Girl of Knossos.

Dec 11, 2017, 6:16am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-Santa Is Coming to Wisconsin
And bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside Down Magic
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Last night's Christmas Movie: Mickey's Christmas Carol

Dec 11, 2017, 6:43am Top

Morning, Amber. You have been dipping into some classics lately, so it is my turn with A Farewell to Arms. I did not read as much as I hoped yesterday. This will be a reread for me.

Dec 11, 2017, 7:57am Top

>186 msf59: Morning, Mark! I can't remember if I've read that Hemingway or not. If so, it was in college. Sounds like I need to revisit it at some point...

Dec 11, 2017, 9:07am Top

Morning, Amber!

Hope your week is starting off well.

Dec 11, 2017, 9:16am Top

>188 jnwelch: Morning, Joe! Thanks!

Dec 11, 2017, 9:17am Top

I finished another pair of socks yesterday:

Dec 11, 2017, 9:33am Top

For those who use the Threadbook:

Now that the wiki has been re-established, I've updated the Threadbook to include all the new threads made in November/December. If you find any errors, let me know and I'll get 'em fixed!

Dec 11, 2017, 11:48am Top

>190 scaifea: Those look comfy, and I love the color! Morning, Amber - you gave me a giggle when you posted about what comes behind finishing the pants. I am immature like that.

I posted on my thread (but wasn't sure that you saw it) in response to your Dicken's read that Neil Gaiman does a fabulous reading of A Christmas Carol that we love to listen to every year - you can find it here: Neil Gaiman reads "A Christmas Carol".

Dec 11, 2017, 12:33pm Top

>192 Crazymamie: Mamie: Ha! I'm glad I made you giggle!
And thanks for the Gaiman link! I've listened to it before, but it's definitely worth a re-listen.

Sewing Update: Pants are almost finished now - I just need Charlie to try them on so I know where to put the hem. Woot!

Dec 11, 2017, 3:14pm Top

Sounds like a fantastic weekend, Amber! Glad to hear Charlie was entranced by The Nutcracker. The Boyfriend and I were lucky that when we went, the rest of the row was empty on his side and on my other side were two (well-behaved) older ladies. We had a couple giggly kids behind us but they were pretty good for most of the show.

Dec 11, 2017, 3:15pm Top

>194 MickyFine: I'm glad the older ladies were well-behaved! You never know how they're going to act in public. :-D

Dec 11, 2017, 7:37pm Top

>194 MickyFine: Micky: I was surprised that the place was as quiet as it was at our show, since I'd say probably 85% of the audience were under 10...

>195 rosalita: Julia: *SNORK!!*

Dec 12, 2017, 6:18am Top

On the agenda for today:
Another day for sewing all day! I'm nearly finished with Charlie's suit pants (I just need to sew up the hems), and then I'm moving on to other Christmas projects.

Charlie's eye check-up went really well! We need to get him new lenses because his right eye has improved again this year! He was nervous about the drops, but was a trooper and barely even flinched.

On the reading front:
I listened to some more of Lord of Misrule and read a bit more of The Winged Girl of Knossos yesterday.

Dec 12, 2017, 6:20am Top

Dec 12, 2017, 6:38am Top

Morning, Amber!

Dec 12, 2017, 7:51am Top

>199 msf59: Morning, Mark!

Dec 12, 2017, 9:08am Top

Loved your/Charlie's message of congrats to Jim over at his place for reaching 100 books.

I hope that I'll make it to that number and Charlie will wish me the same. xx

Dec 12, 2017, 9:47am Top

Morning, Amber!

Enjoy your day of sewing. You have talent, my friend.

That's good news about Charlie's eye. I didn't realize improvement was a possibility.

Dec 12, 2017, 10:41am Top

>197 scaifea: Enjoy doing ALL THE SEWING!!!

Dec 12, 2017, 11:00am Top

>201 PaulCranswick: Ha! Thanks, Paul! He frequently asks me about my LT friends and knows several of them by name, even if he hasn't met them yet. I know he's heard me talking about My Friend Paul, too.

>202 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! Pants are now finished and I have to say that I'm inordinately pleased with how they turned out. Charlie tried them on last night so I could figure out where to put the hem, and he looks very sharp in them, indeed.

And yes, eyes can change (in a fixing sort of way) up to about the age of 13 or so, according to Charlie's doc. That's how the patching works, and how Charlie is now able to see anything at all out of his right eye (we found out when he was 5 that he was a half-step from being legally blind in that eye, but with patching and glasses, he's now doing great and his lense Rx gets better every year).

>203 MickyFine: Ha! Thanks, Micky! I should get back to work, then, eh?

Dec 12, 2017, 11:18am Top

Morning, Amber! That is so great about Charlie's eye improving even more. Whoot!

Dec 12, 2017, 12:54pm Top

>205 Crazymamie: Mamie: I know, right?!

Dec 12, 2017, 1:33pm Top

Hi Amber!

Dec 12, 2017, 3:10pm Top

Hi Amber my dear, enjoy all your sewing projects today, you are a very talented lady indeed.

Dec 12, 2017, 4:42pm Top

>207 The_Hibernator: Hi, Rachel!

>208 johnsimpson: Thanks, John!

Dec 12, 2017, 11:07pm Top

I was way behind on your thread, Amber, but caught up for the moment. While reading I had an ah ha moment. It was about your disappointment with your fall. Now I get why you like this time of year, it isn't a complete soggy mess where you are! You description of how fall was this year is how it usually is here - November was 27 days of rain.

I hope you get all your sewing projects done. I remember scrambling at this time of year when I used to make a lot of hand made gifts.

Dec 13, 2017, 6:18am Top

>210 Familyhistorian: Hi, Meg! Yes, a good fall here is sunny, crisp days with gorgeous, bright leaves on the trees and crunching under your feet. We didn't have any of those this time around, I'm afraid.
And thanks - I'm still not sure that everything will get done, but I have backup plans in place so I'm trying not to fret too much.

Dec 13, 2017, 6:21am Top

On the agenda for today:
Another Sew All Day day. Charlie's pants are finished, so now I want to make some pajama pants for Tomm and possibly a couple of stuff animals for his two nieces. I still haven't made the suit jacket for Charlie, but I really don't think that will happen before Christmas. We'll see.

On the reading front:
Still listening to Lord of Misrule (and haven't yet decided if I like it at all) and reading The Winged Girl of Knossos. I also sneaked in a few pages of War and Peace yesterday.

Dec 13, 2017, 6:23am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-How This Book Was Made
-Jingle Bells
And bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside Down Magic
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Last night's Christmas Movie: Merry Madagascar

Dec 13, 2017, 6:42am Top

Morning, Amber. The mid-30s should feel pretty good after yesterday. Grins...

Dec 13, 2017, 8:08am Top

>214 msf59: Morning, Mark! Yeah, I just took the dogs out and it doesn't feel nearly as shivery this morning.

Dec 13, 2017, 8:35am Top

Morning, Amber!

Happy Doug Jones and No Roy Moore Day!

That's great news about Charlie's eye and lens RX. I had no idea they could do that much up to age 13.

I'm glad I got to briefly meet Charlie at Mark's, although I suspect I looked big and scary. Congrats on the pants. He's very lucky to have a personal tailor in the house. :-)

Dec 13, 2017, 8:53am Top

>216 jnwelch: Morning, Joe! Woot! There may be hope for this country yet. (Maybe.)

Isn't that neat how they can correct eyes like that?I know I'm pretty thankful for it.

And yeah, that day at Mark's was a little overwhelming for Charlie, I think. Too many adults in one place for him. He has met Julia before, and he knows Science Jim from the Skype talk he gave for Charlie's school. I hope we can meet-up sometime where we're in Chicago, especially since I think he and Becca would really hit it off.

You should have a talk with Charlie about how lucky he is with the personal tailor, I think; he thinks of it more as a nuisance because there are fittings involved. Ha!

Dec 13, 2017, 9:15am Top

I'm happy to report that at 211 books so far, I've already passed my record for Books Read in a Year! (In 2015 I read 203. (I've only been keeping track since 2008.)). Woot.

Dec 13, 2017, 9:16am Top

>217 scaifea: My mother's mother was a sewing genius who made amazing clothes her whole life. Mama hated it passionately and couldn't even sew on a button. Funny how perverse we all are, isn't it.

Happy Death-of-Twitlerism!

Dec 13, 2017, 9:42am Top

>219 richardderus: Richard: My mom is an amazing seamstress and taught me everything I know. When I was little, she could walk into the local girls' fancy dress shop with a notepad and pencil, then go home and whip up an even better version of a dress then they had on the racks. Amazing. I still call her for help when I get in a sewing pinch, and it's the best feeling when she sees something I've made and I can tell that she's proud of what I've done.

I don't fret too much about Charlie not liking the fitting sessions, because I remember being the exact same way. Plus, he does love the Halloween costumes and I think he believes that Mommy can make ANYTHING (I'll let him keep thinking that for a while longer). Also, a big room full of every kind of crafting supply known to man is a pretty cool thing in his eyes, too. We've always been able to make any crafty idea he's come up with so far, and that gives me a goodly amount of Mommy street cred.

Dec 13, 2017, 9:44am Top

>220 scaifea: Thank goodness for individuality!

Dec 13, 2017, 9:44am Top

>221 richardderus: *smiley face*

Dec 14, 2017, 3:27am Top

#218 Wow. I mean holy cow. I'm a little in awe of that.

Dec 14, 2017, 4:11am Top

Whoohoo on the eye improvement for Charlie! That is just sooooo great. And more hurrays for setting a new book reading total. Life is good right now. : )

Dec 14, 2017, 6:13am Top

>223 BekkaJo: Thanks, Bekka! I know there are some folks here who manage to read quite a bit more than that, and I'm in awe of them. I still wish I could squeeze in even more, of course!

>224 Berly: Kim: Isn't it great news?! We're over the moon about it. Life *is* good!

Dec 14, 2017, 6:16am Top

On the agenda today:
More sewing, more frantic sewing. I also need to do some menu-planning and get my grocery list ready for tomorrow's shopping, which will hopefully carry us through Christmas (we leave the day after for a week of family-visiting travel).
Oh, and also a haircut for me; nothing drastic - I really like the cut I have and so I've stuck with it for a few years now. Just a thin-out (my hair is ridiculously thick) and a ends-trim.

On the reading front:
Still listening to Lord of Misrule and reading The Winged Girl of Knossos.

Dec 14, 2017, 7:14am Top

Morning, Amber! I am off today, so Sweet Thursday, indeed. Bree is going to Oregon for a long weekend, to visit our family there, so I will be taking her to the airport, this afternoon. Hope to spend some time with the books too.

Dec 14, 2017, 7:56am Top

>228 msf59: Morning, Mark! Enjoy your sweet Thursday off!

Dec 14, 2017, 9:46am Top

Morning, Amber! We're practically twins - I am also getting my hair cut today. Also keeping my current style, which I love and which works for me because it requires zero maintenance aside from getting it cut every four weeks.

Dec 14, 2017, 9:59am Top

>230 Crazymamie: Mamie: Ha! Excellent! I also love my style because it requires zero work on my part.

Dec 14, 2017, 10:05am Top

My haircut is on Sunday!! Also a trim and thin. : )

Dec 14, 2017, 11:00am Top

Sweet Thursday, Amber!

New personal book-reading best - way to go! 211, wow.

Dec 14, 2017, 12:50pm Top

>232 Berly: Kim: Woot for the trim-and-thin!

>233 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! I'll probably squeeze a few more books in before the 31st, too.

Dec 14, 2017, 5:03pm Top

212. Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (National Book Award, audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
While I recognize that there are things to admire about this book (the writing shines in a few places, and the characters are well-crafted), I can't say that I enjoyed it. Or even particularly liked it. Because there are also things here that I demonstrably didn't enjoy: the sex scenes were icky (thankfully there were only a couple), and the racetrack details were beyond my ken. I admit that this last fault is my own, since I know very close to nothing about horse racing, although I suppose a case could be made that the book should be readable to those outside track life. Despite all this, though, the basic storyline - which took me a good 3/4 of the book to suss out - pulled me in on the home stretch (and do apologize for the word choice there). So, a mixed bag this one, for me, at least.

Dec 15, 2017, 2:56am Top

Congrats on beating your personal best, Amber. 212 is a lot of reading.

Dec 15, 2017, 6:16am Top

Dec 15, 2017, 6:18am Top

On the agenda for today:
Grocery shopping, bills, weekly photo organizing, then a trip to a neat little candy shop that I found in a little town about 20 miles away for stocking stuffers before heading to school for my library volunteering. Charlie has ballet class after school today, too.

On the reading front:
I started listening to Redeployment yesterday, and I'm already blown away by the first story. I also made a bit of progress on The Winged Girl of Knossos.

Dec 15, 2017, 6:20am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
We stayed up a little later than usual to finish watching Penguins of Madagascar: Operation Special Delivery, so we only read from our two main chapter books last night:
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Dec 15, 2017, 6:58am Top

Morning, Amber. Happy Friday! And hooray for Redeployment.

Dec 15, 2017, 7:57am Top

>240 msf59: Morning, Mark! Woot for Friday! And yes, Redeployment is fantastic so far.

Dec 15, 2017, 8:18am Top

Happy Friday, Amber! Have a good one!

Dec 15, 2017, 8:51am Top

Morning, Amber! Happy Friday! I am jealous of the "neat little candy store" - sounds fun!

Dec 15, 2017, 10:47am Top

>242 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda!

>243 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie! I'm excited - I generally don't like shopping, but if it involves a candy shop, well, that's a different story altogether.

Dec 15, 2017, 11:51am Top

Candy shops are fun. When I went to Nova Scotia, one of my friend's told me I had to go to Freak Lunchbox in Halifax which sells every kind of candy imaginable (and largely in bulk). It was a funky little shop and the air smelled like sugar as soon as you walked in. I definitely came out with treats both times I went. :)

Happy Friday!

Edited: Dec 15, 2017, 12:48pm Top

>245 MickyFine: Micky: Oooh, that one sounds like a good one! This one is tiny and adorable, on the Main Street of a tiny and adorable, artsy town. You can even see their quirky Little Free Library in the photo:

Dec 15, 2017, 1:18pm Top

>246 scaifea: That IS adorable!

Dec 15, 2017, 1:34pm Top

Hiya, Amber.

Oh, Redeployment! I thought it was one of the best books of the year. It needs more readers! I'm glad you're giving it a go.

Dec 15, 2017, 4:42pm Top

>248 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! Yes, Redeployment is excellent so far and most definitely needs more readers. Certainly deserving of the NBA.

Dec 16, 2017, 10:29am Top

On the agenda today:
Family picture day, so this morning we'll set up the tripod, dig out the remote, get spiffied up and have fun goofing in front of the camera. Then I'll spend some time sorting and editing the photos and ordering prints, and then I'm hoping to spend most of the rest of the day in the sewing room. We'll see how that goes.

On the reading front:
I listened to a good chunk of Redeployment yesterday, finished The Winged Girl of Knossos (more on that later) and started Thursday's Child.

Dec 16, 2017, 10:32am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant (school library book, picture book) - 9/10 = A
A lovely picture book about, well, what it says on the tin. Rylant is fabulous at this sort of thing.
-The Wild Christmas Reindeer
And bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside Down Magic
-Enormously Foxtrot
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

We watched Dragons Holiday and the dvd of Charlie's performance in the Carnival of Animals!

Dec 16, 2017, 10:41am Top

Morning, Amber. Happy Saturday. It looks like it will be a very nice day in the Midwest. Sunny and mid-40s. Sounds good to me.

Enjoy your day.

Dec 16, 2017, 11:18am Top

>252 msf59: Morning, Mark!

Dec 16, 2017, 11:50am Top

213. The Girl of Knossos by Erick Berry (Newbery Honor Book, 220 pages) - 8/10 = B+
A neat re-telling (sort of) of the Theseus and Ariadne myth, through the eyes of Daidalos' daughter. The writing isn't earth-shattering or anything, but it's a fun story nonetheless.

Dec 16, 2017, 1:24pm Top

...Daidalos had a daughter...? Really? Huh.

Dec 16, 2017, 1:25pm Top

Happy Saturday, Amber!

Dec 16, 2017, 2:29pm Top

Congrats on the personal reading best. Hope you had fun with the photos too!

Dec 16, 2017, 2:38pm Top

>255 richardderus: Richard: Funny thing about myths...

>256 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! Happy Saturday to you, too!

>257 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte! The photos were fun, but now I'm in the middle of sorting through them, which is not so fun.

Dec 17, 2017, 9:09am Top

On the agenda for today:
We're heading up to The Dells today for a little outlet mall shopping and a visit to Buffalo Phil's for lunch - the place that has toy trains running on tracks all around the place, and the trains deliver your food. Tomm and Charlie both adore it (and I kind of like it, too).

On the reading front:
I didn't get much reading time yesterday since we were busy with family pictures and then I tried to get more sewing done. I did manage a few pages in Thursday's Child, though.

Dec 17, 2017, 9:10am Top

Dec 17, 2017, 9:18am Top

Morning, Amber! Happy Sunday! We are having a party to celebrate my FIL's 75th birthday this afternoon. I'll have to tell him that is a very important number in my book world. Smiles...

Enjoy your day.

Dec 17, 2017, 9:42am Top

Wishing you a great Sunday, Amber, dear.

Dec 17, 2017, 10:03am Top

Morning, Amber!

Dec 17, 2017, 10:17am Top

>261 msf59: Morning, Mark! Happy 75th to your FIL! That *is* an excellent number!

>262 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

>263 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie!

Dec 17, 2017, 3:17pm Top

>246 scaifea: That's a cute little candy store. Were you successful there, Amber?

>245 MickyFine: I never heard of Freak Lunchbox, Mickey. Where is it in Halifax? I know that I will be going back after seeing everyone this year.

Dec 17, 2017, 4:48pm Top

>265 Familyhistorian: Meg: Yes, I picked up some neat stuff in the candy shop mostly interesting chocolate bars of various kinds, including one with pop rocks in it. It's a lovely little shop and I'll definitely be going back.

Dec 17, 2017, 7:43pm Top

>266 scaifea: The next time you are in Iowa City, remind me to take you to Sweets & Treats, which has lots of fun stuff I've never seen anywhere else. It's not nearly as cute as the one in >246 scaifea:, being located in a mall, unfortunately. But they make their own malted-milk balls and they are SO good!

Dec 17, 2017, 8:07pm Top

>80 scaifea: and >93 scaifea: What masterpieces. Works of art for sure. How I wish I had some of your talent.

Dec 17, 2017, 9:32pm Top

>267 rosalita: Julia: Oh, that sounds amazing! I LOVE malted milk balls!

>268 Whisper1: Thanks, Linda!

Dec 18, 2017, 4:09am Top

Your sewing amazes me (actually, anyone who can do it does). My mum blames her complete inability to sew on the fact that her mother was a fantastic seamstress....she reckons that any partially completed project would be scooped up and completed by her mum. Thus ensuring that my mum knew well enough to start stuff, and then leave it.

Love the sweet shop in >246 scaifea:! Quaint as (as we would say in NZ).

Dec 18, 2017, 6:17am Top

>270 LovingLit: Thanks, Megan! My mom was a fantastic seamstress, too, but I blame all my successes on her. And yes, I'd say the candy shop is definitely quaint!

Dec 18, 2017, 6:18am Top

On the agenda for today:
Another day spent in the sewing room - I'm going to try my best to get the suit jacket finished for tonight's school holiday concert, but we'll see how it goes.

On the reading front:
We were out most of the day yesterday, and then I was too zonked to read much, but I did make a little progress on Thursday's Child.

Dec 18, 2017, 6:20am Top

What We Read Yesterday:
-The Magic Word by Mac Barnett (school library book, picture book) - 9/10 = A-
We love Mac Barnett, so we try to catch all his new ones. This isn't my favorite of his, but it's still pretty hilarious.
-The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas
And bits of:
-Herobrine Saves Christmas
-Upside Down Magic
-Enormously Foxtrot
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

We watched Arthur Christmas.

Dec 18, 2017, 6:33am Top

Morning, Amber. I did not get much reading in either, but I did finally read The Darkest Dark. This might be perfect for Charlie and it is beautifully illustrated. Very quick read.

Dec 18, 2017, 7:59am Top

Morning, Mark! Thanks for the tip - I'll have to see if the library has that one!

Dec 18, 2017, 9:39am Top

Morning, Amber! Wishing you good luck with your sewing today.

Dec 18, 2017, 11:11am Top

Morning, Amber!

Hope you're having a good one. I'm just taking it easy with a Dame Agatha collection and a follow-up book to Suds in Your Eye, called One on the House.

Dec 18, 2017, 11:11am Top

Best of luck getting Charlie's jacket done today, Amber.

Dec 18, 2017, 11:23am Top

>265 Familyhistorian: It's pretty close to the Citadel and right across the street from the Grand Parade (their website for reference).

>272 scaifea: Good luck to you on the sewing and good luck to Charlie on his concert!

Dec 18, 2017, 11:28am Top

>279 MickyFine: Ooh, thanks Mickey. It looks familiar but I was up and down Barrington Street when the stores were closed. Next time I will visit at earlier.

Dec 18, 2017, 3:03pm Top

>276 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie! It's finished!! Photos to follow once my model is home from school...

>277 jnwelch: Hi, Joe! I'm hoping to get round to more Christie next year.

>278 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg!

>279 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky!

Dec 18, 2017, 3:19pm Top

214. Redeployment by Phil Klay (NBA, audiobook) - 9/10 = A-
A collection of stories centered around Marines serving or who have served in the Iraq War.
This is a powerful collection, well and thoughtfully written. They're not easy stories to read, but I do feel that this is an important collection and one that should be read. And it really is very well done - the characters and their stories seem lovingly crafted and genuine. Definitely recommended.

Dec 18, 2017, 3:49pm Top

Hi Amber my dear, hope you had a good weekend and wishing you a good week ahead on the run up to Christmas. Karen had a good day yesterday making the Christmas treats and truffles, I am a really lucky boy with all these goodies to try over the festive period. Sending love and hugs to you all dear friend from both of us.

Dec 18, 2017, 4:51pm Top

>283 johnsimpson: Hi, John! I saw Karen's photos of her treats on facebook and they look amazing! You are definitely a lucky guy!

Dec 18, 2017, 4:58pm Top

This topic was continued by scaifea's thread #25.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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