New yarny projects – finally!

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Firstly I have been working on Icicle Dreams – a baby blanket ripple pattern from a leaflet I got from a thrift store grab bag. Lots of bright colors!

And Tiziana has another knit-a-long going on! She’s calling it the MnM (Mystery – No Mystery). I have decided to keep it a mystery, so anyone who decides to peak, don’t tell me anything! The yarn I’ve chosen isn’t ideal, but it’ll have to do. It’s the only thing I have enough yardage of. I got it in an awesome grab bag from shopgoodwill.org.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (Sedaris)

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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and DenimDress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

David Sedaris is funny in that sort of way that makes you chuckle and roll your eyes. He reminds me of friends in my past life and seems like someone I’d like to be friends with – dry, witty and able to make fun of himself and his family without dehumanizing or really truly degrading them. I really connected with a few of the stories. The way he expresses his emotions throughout a situation really gives you the impression that you are there with him in this hairy situation – whatever it may be.

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Siddhartha (Hesse)

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SiddharthaSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, it’s been a good 15 years since I first read this book as a school assignment. One thing about Siddhartha’s story that stood out this time around, but probably not the first was his experience with losing his son. The learning to let go just like he had made his father let go was touching and a slightly painful realization personally. I would recommend this book to anyone who is either rebelling against or seeking a religious way…so basically everyone.

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Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children (Hanh)

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Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with ChildrenPlanting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very good book. I think all parents and educators should read it. If not to follow it’s lessons precisely, at least to get a feel for the idea of increasing mindfulness in our children and our teaching. Do not let the idea that it is based in Buddhism fool you into thinking that any other religious person could not benefit from it. I have found that most Buddhist teachings I have read firmly believe that no one should convert to Buddhism, but they feel that some of their practices could be adapted to many other religious groups and also to secular groups such as the standard school classroom and therefore respectfully share their ideas. Here in the US we are so hurried all the time and never disconnect. It would do us all a great deal of good to stop and follow our breath more often. It would also do us some good to look at things from more than one perspective and gain understanding of our fellow humans on this earth.

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Grab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way: A Novel (Charles)

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Grab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way: A NovelGrab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way: A Novel by Bryan Charles
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Overall, it was not great, but it held up to my expectations. It’s a book told from the perspective of a recent high school graduate who has no idea what he’s doing with his life, has fallen in love with his band-mate’s damaged girlfriend and is basically a mess. Many of the entries (I call them this because they weren’t exactly chapters) are either drug/alcohol-induced or sleep-deprived stream of consciousness nonsense. There are some particularly good points and I did end up rooting for the guy.

My favorite quote: “The punks are too late. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s alrady own us. One day we’ll wake up with MTV logos tattooed on our heads and IBM computer chips planted in our nuts. Resistance is futile. Now let’s go smoke a little grass.”

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Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse: A Collection for Children and Adults (Collier)

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Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse: A Collection for Children and AdultsOur Seven Principles in Story and Verse: A Collection for Children and Adults by Kenneth W. Collier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are looking to learn what Unitarian Universalist truly means, this is the book. Perhaps that is too large of a statement, but for me it holds true. I enjoyed Buehrens & Church’s A Chosen Faith, but it did not speak to my soul the same way. Collier is a minister I would love to find at my church every Sunday morning. There is just enough philosophy and artistry in his writing to keep me both grounded and spiritually fulfilled at the same time. The juxtaposition of essay, story and poem for each principle really rounds out a true understanding. This book is still relevant to the modern day religious seeker (even 15 years after it’s publication) and I would highly recommend it to both UU’s and those of other faiths.

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Quite a Year for Plums (White)

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Quite a Year for Plums Quite a Year for Plums by Bailey White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is definitely an enjoyable read; not nearly as bad as some reviews indicate. I remember my mom laughing hysterically as she read Mama Makes Up Her Mind. I was not laughing out loud, but I enjoyed and could relate to the characters. My particular favorite bit is Chapter 4 – A Nice Day, when Roger falls in love with Della just by observing what she leaves at the dump. This is exactly the sort of quirkiness that I enjoy. The chapters on fan-obsessed Jim Wade and Louise’s spaceman-centric affair with the typographer were also quite enjoyable.

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I’ll Let You Go (Wagner)

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I'll Let You GoI’ll Let You Go by Bruce Wagner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am at a loss on this one. It’s much better than many reviewers here have expressed; very Dickensian and I am a fan. I think it was maybe a little corny that the author inserted comments about Dickens and Victorian times in a not at all subtle way. Maybe not the literary work of a lifetime, but what a fabulous story and interesting characters. For that it is worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found the pages flying by. If you like the screwed up coincidences that usually befall families whose lives revolve around a secret, then you’ll enjoy this.

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