Tag Archives: books

Where My Past Meets My Present and Changes Blogs

10 Oct

Thanks to the generous flour mill lending of my fellow other-blogger Jeannette, and Super Walmart’s affordable bag of wheat berries I set out on a whole new journey last week – grinding my own flour.

For those of you who worry that this might be the very last straw – ha!  ha!  Get it?  “Straw!” – in my journey towards being a conservative-crunchy-granola-homeschooling-weirdo, fear not.  I either entered into that territory a long time ago, or I’m no where near it.  I can’t really tell.  But crunchy granola is super-duper yummy.

The tie-dyed shirt might be incriminating evidence.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what flour grinding has to do with my past, or reading classic novels.  Hold on just a second.  I’ll get there.  Just be patient.  I have to help you slowly navigate through my mind, which is a bit of a dangerous journey.

As we tore open the bag of wheat and reached into the little berries I was immediately transported back to the quonset.  You remember the quonset, right?  It was in the Rural Dictionary which you were supposed to commit to memory, so I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The quonset was where we stored pig feed.  Do you know what pigs eat?  Do you?  Have you ever really thought about it?  The answer is not ham.  Or bacon.  You’re confused.  In books pigs eat slop.  And to be sure, we did not own a garbage disposal and my family always called the one in my Gramma’s house “the electric pig,” but that is hardly the sole sustenance of the porcine species.

No, they eat grain.  I guess.  I never actually gave a lot of thought to what pig feed was until I tore open that bag of wheat and little particles floated up my nose and into my memory bank.  That wheat smelled exactly like pig feed.

I know, you’re thinking that I probably found it all very unappetizing and had to abandon my plans to become a anti-establishment, hippie, tree-hugging, unschooler who lives in a commune. Well, fear not.  I am wholly dedicated to yummy pizza crust.  Because pig feed smells good.

Again, I think you are confused.  It’s the pigs that don’t smell good.  And definitely what they turn the feed into reeks the hairs right off your nostrils.  But the pre-digested food?  That’s a smell Yankee could put in wax and burn.

The sniffing is genetic.

And it tastes good, too.  Or at least that’s what Dad always said when he tried to shock us by chewing on a pinch of the Baby Pig Food.  We learned later that the secret ingredient in that rich, black formula was molasses.  Plus, it was an excellent source of iron.

You made it this far into my scary mind journey, are you ready to go a little further and find out how this all connects to classic literature?  Well, then you’ll have to follow me, over to my other blog . . .

Are you coming?

Read this!!!!

18 Sep

Hold on to your bindings, folks – it’s time for a Book Recommendation.

My oldest says to me the other day,

“Mom, sometimes I DO judge a book by its cover.”

Well, guess what. So do I. Interestingly enough Owen and I were judging the same book in opposing ways. He thought it looked boring. I thought it looked quaint and adorable.  Here, I’ll show you. But I won’t let you judge for yourself. No way. You’ve got to read the thing in order to own that honor.

Okay, I know. I used my webcam. But it's real time. This is me. Now. Wow, right?

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. This book is charming the collective pants off of our family. Right off. I really think you should read it. Wait. There are some things you should know. There’s a ton of negative energy spun in a bizarrely positive way residing within these pages. That sounds weird, right? Well, it’s true. If you want all lollipops and rainbows, look elsewhere. If you want children and parents plotting against one another, bad German, and an overuse of the word “dolt”, LOOK HERE! The humor is clever. The characters lovable (and odious). The plot diabolical.

Things crammed into this lovely little book:

  • Countless literary allusions (of good books – ones you want your children to someday read)
  • An annotated bibliography of said literary gems (that makes them sound super interesting and fun, thus peaking interest)
  • A gorgeous use of the English language (I have yet to find one dangling participle)
  •  A dynamic and unique vocabulary (this household is now using the word “obsequious” on a regular basis)
  • A glossary (that not only correctly defines words, but also procures giggles from my children)
  • Four worthy orphans with a no-nonsense nanny (That’s a direct quote from the text. In context it will make you guffaw.)

Soooo, are you curious? Oh, I so hope you are.

Social Networking by the Books

29 Jul

Stacy and I got the most touching e-mail yesterday.  Here, let me read part of it to you:

Did I tell you how I felt taking the book back to the library? I didn’t really want to give it up. I wanted to know more about their lives. I also am afraid that another book won’t be as good a friend as this one. Like giving up a comfortable chair or pair of shoes, I’m afraid a new book won’t be as comfortable.

Isn’t that so sweet?  My sister and I have felt this way hundreds of times about a whole slew of characters, and this new reader captured it so beautifully.

The big shock is that this new reader is our mother.  Bet you didn’t know she wasn’t a reader.  She hides it well.  Somehow she manages to be funny, bright, articulate, and knowledgeable without the aid of fiction.  I can’t imagine what she’ll be like now that we seem to have her reading habit well on its way to addiction.

So you’re probably wondering how a nonreader managed to rear two bibliophiles.  Although I can’t remember ever seeing my Mom curled up with a novel of her own she never hesitated to read to us.  Some of my best childhood memories (and I have a lot) are of evenings sprawled across the bed with Mom and Stacy laughing at Ramona Quimby until our sides ached.

Reading was about closeness and family time, laughing together and making new friends bound by ink, but released by our imaginations and conversations.  Reading was socializing in both the real and virtual worlds.  To this day my sister and I still approach books in this same way.

Here’s where you can help us.  Mom’s new friends are the lovely people of Guernsey Island.  Have you met them?  If not, you should introduce yourself to the main character, Juliet, and the two of you should ferry over and make yourselves at home.  Then you should lend us your expertise.  Mom’s a bit leery about meeting new people, so can you introduce her to some that you’ve loved?  Who are the best friends you’ve made in books?

We look forward to your suggestions and can’t wait to put books on hold – the original “friend request.”