Monday, December 31, 2007
Abbreviated reading list for 2008
Selecting only a dozen books to be on "my list" last year worked so well I'm going to do it again this year. In 2007 I was able to read 93 books, and read through my Bible twice. Having only one book per month that was a must-read gave me lots of time to read other books reviewed or mentioned on various blogs, books I read about in the newspaper, and books recommended by friends and relatives. And I still felt a teensy bit virtuous for having worked some structure into my reading for the year. (Self-congratulation obviously comes very easily to me.)
Laura's book list 2008
5. London 1945: Life in the Debris of War by Maureen Waller. After reading The Book Thief I'm ready for more books about World War II, and I think Maureen Waller has garnered some praise for her work in history.
6. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One by Thomas Sowell. Mr. Sowell's book, Basic Economics, was so good I bought several copies and have used it to teach economics to my children. I also plan to read Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson and learn from Dana and Cindy as they discuss that book. Mr. Sowell's book can't help but further my understanding of economics. Besides, I've yet to read a book by Thomas Sowell that wasn't good.
7. World without End by Ken Follett. The last Ken Follett book I read must have been Eye of the Needle. I was in high school back then, and I really liked that book. I probably should read Pillars of the Earth first, so it's a good thing this book is not first on my list.
11. America's British Culture by Russell Kirk. Dana has made me realize I need to read more books by Russell Kirk. Hopefully, this won't be the only one by him I read this year.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
My favorite books read in 2007
From the list of books I read this past year, I've selected my favorites. Some I have reviewed, others I haven't. My only criteria for "favorite" is that I have to have recommended it several times to friends or family members.
1. Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens.
2. Flight Path: A Biography of Frank Barker, Jr. by Janie Buck and Mary Lou Davis.
3. Last Harvest by Witold Rybczynski.
4. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith.
5. Witness by Whittaker Chambers.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
7. T is for Treason by Sue Grafton.
8. The Making of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman.
9. The Giver by Lois Lowry.
10. Morning and Evening Daily Readings by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
The Illustrated History of the Housewife
A pair of socks for Miss Betty have been started. I'd like to get two pairs done for her by the middle of January.
The back of Sarah's Ribby Cardi is finished, and I'm well on the way with the left and right front panels. I LOVE this pattern!
Christmas with the family...
Monday, December 24, 2007
Glenn is 30!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Miss Betty and socks
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
But here is Jacy wearing her sweater (looking a bit pained because it was cold and she was standing bare-footed on the porch early last Friday morning):
(Knit with Peruvian Highland Wool from Elann on size 7 Denise needles.)
Jacy is 19!
Today is Jacy's birthday and she's celebrating it in Virginia with her other family - Lars, Sarah, Kim, Josh, and Lizzie. Last week she opened her gifts from us, and the week before that her friends at Auburn threw a surprise party for her.
Happy Birthday, dear Jacy!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
*Note to myself
Steve was late getting home Monday night, and I decided I'd like a small glass of wine to sip while I read a book. I looked through his wine cooler and saw two bottles with screw-tops. I grabbed one, poured about 4 ounces into a glass and slowly enjoyed it for the next two hours.
When Steve got home I told him I'd had a glass of wine and offered to show him the bottle I'd opened so he'd know it needed to be drunk or used in cooking within the next few days.
He asked, "What did you open?"
I answered, "I don't know, something with a clown on the label."
"Was it good?"
We walked out to his office, I pulled the bottle out of the cooler and he staggered back clutching his chest with a look of utter horror and disbelief on his face.
Steve: "You didn't open THAT!"
Me: "Yes. I did. See, you can tell. It's not full now."
Steve: "Laura. That's $80-a-bottle wine! It's supposed to be worth hundreds in about twenty years!"
Me (speaking very slowly, because now I feel awful): "You might be dead in twenty years. Maybe it's a good thing it's open now so you can enjoy it."
Steve: "I can't believe you drank that."
Me: "There's a lot left. Here - let me pour you a glass!"
Steve: "Robert Parker gave that wine a 97." [Actually, he gave it a 99 - I looked it up last night.] They sold out of it almost immediately. There's no way to replace it."
Me: "Wait! If he gave it a 97, then that means he drank it NOW. That wine is great now, and might NOT be that great twenty or even ten years from now, right?"
Steve: "The rating also is based on what he believes the wine will be like when it's more mature."
At this point I very unwisely started trying to bring in various Bible verses on planning one's future, and Steve warned me not to even go there.
So... I don't know what the future holds for us, but I'm pretty certain it holds no "clown wine."
(And just for the record, MollyDooker Carnival of Love Shiraz is a good wine. Now I wish I'd drunk more than 4 ounces!)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sam is 6!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Kissing Christmas Goodbye
Friday, December 07, 2007
Baggy Pants and Other Stories
My favorite commercial
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Through the looking-glass
Labels: home projects
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Clementine Churchill: The Biography of a Marriage
Last year while doing some last-minute Christmas shopping at a local bookstore, I saw Clementine Churchill: The Biography of a Marriage. I thought the title was interesting, so I bought the book and asked Steve if he would give it to me for Christmas. Then I put it on my reading list for 2007.
Before reading this book, I knew nothing at all about Clementine Churchill - not even the correct pronunciation of her name. (It's "ClemenTEEN.") I'd read William Manchester's excellent, though unfinished, biography of Sir William Churchill years ago, and I'm sure Mrs. Churchill was mentioned, but if so, she didn't stay in my mind.
Clementine's youngest child, Mary, wrote this book, and it's actually an updated and revised edition of an earlier biography she wrote of her mother. It's thorough, interesting, but not ugly. Although some unpleasant events or characters are in this book, Mary chooses to dwell on the positive, not the sad or scintillating. I believe this biography not only gave me a true picture of Clementine Churchill, but also a more complete picture of her husband. He was ten years older than Clementine when they married, and had already begun a famous and illustrious career as a politician and a writer. She was young and from a very dysfunctional family, yet she made the perfect wife for him, to the surprise of many. Mary writes, "Right from the start of her married life she learned to live with crisis and controversy. Looking back, one can see that this period was a fitting training for the more sombre, deadly days that lay further ahead in their lives."
Throughout their lives Winston depended on Clementine's good sense and her self-sacrificing love for him. After he left politics and was truly retired, he still had many hobbies and outlets for his energy, particularly painting and writing. Clementine didn't really have any hobbies to fall back on when their lives slowed down, but as her daughter points out:
"If she had been more egotistical, more pleasure-loving or more personally ambitious, she might have been less at a loss when the calls of duty ceased to be so imperious and consuming. But if she had been any or all of these things, the history of her relationship with Winston, and her influence over him, would certainly have been different - and so, to some extent, might have been the history of our times."
They really had a happy marriage, and left a treasure-trove of letters and notes to one another that confirm their deep commitment to each other. Fortunately, they lived before telephone calls were common-place, (and before e-mails, instant messaging, and texting) so they wrote to each other almost every day - whether apart geographically, or together in the same house!
Mary was obviously close to her mother, but she says she learned so much about her parents after her mother's death when she went through mountains of correspondence and various diaries. I'm grateful that she made the effort to do so. This biography of Clementine Churchill was uplifting and encouraging, and it's a book I'll recommend often to anyone wanting to read something good.
Hard Fighting Soldier
I was expecting a memoir emphasizing Mr. Williams' years playing under Coach Pat Dye and his current role as the Auburn Tigers' chaplain under Coach Tommy Tuberville. But it was much better than that. This was a book about God, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. This book was a testimony - not about Chette Williams - but about God. Mr. Williams wrote of God's mercy and grace as seen and lived by many different men who played for Auburn.
It was so good, I bought three more copies to give as Christmas gifts.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Steve says it looks like port and starboard to him. Maybe if we get wreaths for the bare doors it will help him think "Christmas!"
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Sarah is 17!
When Sarah was born Steve was in Bahrain for the Gulf War. He didn't get home until she was almost 4 months old. Sarah was born on a Sunday. I knew I was in labor that morning, so friends took Glenn and Aric to church. Mom had already arrived to help me with postpartum life, and to drive the children and me to AL after the baby was born so we could spend Christmas with the extended family. She watched Jacy and Tom while I walked around the neighborhood on the base in Beaufort, SC. After church, the same friends took the boys, including Tom, to see the Christmas parade in downtown Beaufort. Before they got home we had to leave for the hospital, where Sarah was born 45 minutes later.
She was my Christmas gift that year. My friend Mary Ann stayed with me through labor and Sarah's birth. I sent Steve some pictures of Sarah, but he never received them. A few weeks later my friend Trish took pictures of me holding Sarah and sent them to Steve, and he got those. They were all he had until he got home and saw Sarah in person.
Those seventeen years have blown by so quickly. We've enjoyed every day of life with Sarah, and thank God for giving her to us.