The dahlias are loving these warm days and cool nights and are suddenly blooming like crazy! I feel a little the same, full of energy and ideas now that the long, lazy days of summer are gone.
Here’s to a weekend of greatness!
It seems like everyone I know listens to podcasts these days and some of them are really unique and very good. Today I want to mention 3 that I listen to regularly.
Do you listen to podcasts? I’d love to hear about the ones you enjoy!
If you wrote a post for this week please include a link below and thanks for joining in this Thursday.
Hold on to your hats because today I am sharing photos of a recently finished hand knit. It’s a baby knit, of course.
Baby Balloon Pants! Are they not the cutest thing ever? Made with sock yarn, they knit up very quickly and are sure to keep Jack warm this winter.
Would you look at that wee cuff? It slays me, I tell you. The yarn had been marinating in the stash for quite.some.time and it’s now discontinued but, in case you’re curious, it’s UrbanGypZ Artisan Yarn in the color Koi Vey. Which, c’mon, best color name ever.
The waist is ribbed and quite long which should help a lot with the fit. The pattern is a translation and some things are a bit tricky but if you’ve knit socks you’ll figure it out easily enough. I’m already planning to make more of these pants for jack!
P.S. You know there will be modeled shots once he wears ’em.
It can’t be all baby all the time around here so how about a reading update? Here is a list of the books I have finished since the end of Summer Book Bingo:
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
The writing is good and the story starts out strong with an eerie setting and a creepy feel. However, there are too many characters (and they are universally unlikable) to track and that made it difficult for me to enjoy the book thoroughly. I’d recommend it with reservations for those who enjoy this type of story.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman has such a beautiful way with words and he inserts amazing and deep observations into the middle of a paragraph and it always blows me away. Darker than any of his previous novels, but still uplifting and hopeful, I feel that Backman has hit his stride with Beartown and now I can’t wait to read his next book. Highly recommended.
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
The writing quality is excellent and some parts of the story are great but there are holes in the plot and it just never comes together all that well. Great potential but it fizzled out for me at the end.
All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage
A thriller that’s very well written but could have used a good editor as it’s just too long. There are also a few holes in the story and some weird instances of current styles/habits being referenced in 1978. As in, someone is described as wearing “yoga pants” but it’s 1978 and I don’t think anyone was calling casual stretchy pants yoga pants then. Despite the flaws, though, the story is compelling and the writing is quite good, particularly if approached as a character study and not a mystery. Recommended but with reservations.
Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
While this series started out as light mysteries, the books have evolved into well written novels with great returning characters. I was pleased with this one, involving two different storylines, and I have to admit I will be sorry to say goodbye to Kinsey Millhone when Z is published. Highly recommended for those who have read the series so far and even more so for the lucky ones who can start with A and read them all for the first time!
Glass Houses by Louise Penny
Louise Penny has hit it out of the park again and this one might be the best one yet! I don’t know how she makes the same characters and setting fresh and interesting over and over again but she does. I recommend the entire series highly!
George & Lizzie by Nancy Pearl
I read this book because Nancy Pearl is THE reader’s advisory librarian and I admire so much her ability to suggest the perfect book for someone to read. I somehow translated that into thinking a book she wrote would be perfect for me and I was wrong about that. This book has moments that are quite good but the overall story didn’t really interest me and Lizzie, the main character truly annoyed me. It came through with a satisfying ending but that felt like too little, too late at that point.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
A beautifully written story about love, loss, nationality, migration and life. Highly recommended.
Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss
While I didn’t like this book all that much I’m still giving it 3 stars because the writing is excellent. It’s really beautiful in parts but I had a hard time connecting with either of the main characters and always felt like I was missing . . . something.
The Burning Girl by Claire Messud
I read this super fast – almost in one sitting – and truly enjoyed the writing style and story. I did feel there were a lot of plot points left dangling and, while that didn’t bother me, I do prefer a story that is more resolved. I also felt like the characters acted much older than the age they were supposed to be. Still, it’s a well written coming-of-age story with moments that felt very believable and brought me back to that time in my own life.
I was feeling like I hadn’t read anything great in a while but looking back at this list I see that I’m just forgetful! Three 5 star books plus a 4 star book is pretty good reading. Plus, I think I’m pretty harsh with my ratings – most books I read get 3 stars and it’s rare for me to give a 2 star rating because if I don’t like it enough to give it 3 stars I probably won’t even finish it. That said, I curate my reading list pretty carefully so there just aren’t a lot of duds on there in the first place.
What are you reading these days? And what’s your system for rating what you’ve read?
My weekend started off on Thursday with the best possible text from Jessica: Jackie is coming home today!
When I left work I stopped at the store and got balloons to leave outside their house because every new mom, dad and baby should be greeted by balloons when they come home from the hospital. And when it’s been an extended hospital stay it’s call for extra rejoicing!
Dale and I stopped for a visit after our Kiwanis meeting. It was absolutely wonderful to hold Jack in his own house and it felt like we had waited for this moment for way too long. Jack was nonplussed, as you can see, but Grampa was a bit verklempt.
I went over on Friday afternoon for a bit. I could pretend it was to give Jess a hand but the truth is I just can’t get enough of this little baby. He’s super snuggly and just loves to be held and this Nana is happy to oblige.
We had our usual Friday Night Snacks. It was good to be home and enjoy some time together and I always love a chance to use my Ouija cheese board.
On Saturday morning I hung out at home. I did some reading and some painting with watercolors. Pumpkins are so easy to paint! It felt great to be back in a bit of a routine.
And then in the afternoon we went to visit Jackie again. Who could resist this little raccoon? Not us, obviously. We’re so lucky that they live just a mile up the road on the same street that we do.
We went to Shoveltown Brewery for Oktoberfest and enjoyed pumpkin beer (me) and IPA (Dale) and some delicious bratwurst and good music. It was crowded but fun.
On Sunday morning I helped out with a food drive in Carver and then we came home to watch the Pats game. Yay!
The best part of the day, though, was after the game was over when Jackie came to Grampa and Nana’s house for the first time. What a treat to have him here. He was super excited, too, as you can see. And very cute in his little skeleton suit. It glows in the dark!
When we weren’t holding him we put him down and covered him up with the blanket I made for him. Talk about verklempt! It made me so happy to remember all those stitches and all those thoughts I had about him while knitting it and to see him snuggled under it was an amazing feeling.
So. It was a weekend full of Jackie and that made it absolutely wonderful!