Book Review

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:27 pm
kenjari: (mt greylock)
[personal profile] kenjari
The Hermit of Eyton Forest
by Ellis Peters

In this fourteenth Cadfael mystery, everything hinges on the arrival of a holy hermit and his young servant to the lands surrounding the abbey. When an arrogant and harsh visitor to the abbey is murdered and one of the abbey's schoolboys goes missing, things get quite complicated indeed. Along the way, we get some of the hallmarks of a Cadfael novel: lovers in some difficulty, an obvious suspect who turns out not to be the culprit, and the concealment of true identity. It was good and diverting read.

eight months

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:40 am
fox: cartoon drawing of oven with single bun in it (bun in the oven)
[personal profile] fox
Yesterday the prince was eight months old.

He is crawling everywhere and transitioning easily from crawling to sitting and back again. He pulls himself up to standing effortlessly when he's holding our hands (we're not pulling him - just providing passive resistance) and is working on it using various furniture items, but he's never confident they won't move or his feet won't skid, assuming he can get his feet oriented properly in the first place (50/50). And our coffee table has a lower shelf thing that he can grab and pull himself up most of the way but he usually senses that he's about to bump his head on the top of the table so he stops. (Yesterday he did fetch himself a clunk up there, poor kid. And the night before last he was sitting up and reaching forward for something and before I could see what happened he'd pitched right over and bonked his forehead on the floor. Both of these happened when he was getting tired and probably therefore pretty uncoordinated. Still not so fun for him.)

He babbles constantly and it's probably frustrating to him that we mostly don't understand what he's saying. I think I recall from my college and grad school days that by this age he understands language pretty well and as far as he's concerned that's what he's producing, but to us it sounds like "da da da da da AAAAAA" and that could mean anything from "I love Daddy" to "how many times do I have to tell you there is poop in my pants," so - there's progress to be made. :-)

We have mostly (knock wood) conquered nap time. His naps at home are often no more than about half an hour, but he does at least seem to understand that nap time is a thing, so the epic struggle is mostly behind us. Only took four months. Whew.

No teeth yet. Every couple of weeks he has a medium-strength meltdown that we can't explain so it's hard to solve, but so far it's generally been either an ear infection or an overload from working on a new skill (sitting, crawling, etc.). One of these times it's going to be teething, but it hasn't been so far. Drooling buckets, though. Buckets.

He likes to give us hugs and kisses, but he accomplishes this by grabbing onto whatever he can reach and pulling us toward his open mouth. So I took out my earrings, as I may have said before, because he'll grab a whole ear but his little fingers occasionally got hooked in the hoops and nobody wants that kind of tugging. He grabs eyebrows, so you have to close your eyes fast or get a slobbery thumb right in the eye socket. He noms my chin or my cheekbone (or my knee) as though he were nursing. Or teething. He strokes my hair when he's resting his head on my shoulder, which is sweet, but he grabs it and sucks on it whether it's in a ponytail or not, and I've had almost no success convincing him mommy's hair is not a snack. I may end up cutting it soon after all. (I'm trying to do less "no, no" and more affirmative redirection. "We play with the toys, not with the floor coverings" when he pulls up the corner of the interlocking mat and puts the interlocking bits in his mouth - or when he puts the fringes of a rug in his mouth that has been on one floor or another for 20 years. "Gentle hands" rather than "No no ow." And so on.)

His favorite foods are bananas and applesauce, and he also enjoys pears, mangoes, sweet potatoes, peaches, and peas and tolerates carrots and cantaloupe. We've got prunes in reserve in the basement for when we need them, but he doesn't eat those regularly. (He likes them fine when he does eat them, though.) Next experiment is chickpeas, with which I made a very pasty baby starter hummus yesterday (no garlic, no tahini, just chickpeas and water and a tiny bit of olive oil); if he hates them we'll make hummus out of them for the grown-ups, but I'm optimistic that he will like them fine. And then next: more complex proteins! I've got my eye on chicken.

Once in a blue moon I am monumentally frustrated by this kid when e.g. he bites me while nursing or he keeps squealing and I can't work out what will make him knock it off or he (rarely anymore) wakes up crying at night and can't easily get back to sleep. But mostly he is marvelous. The way he turns toward us when he falls asleep in our arms and tucks his little face into our shoulders is - well, it's what I've always wanted. From time to time I look at him playing with his dad and I could burst into fragments from how happy I am that I have this husband whom I love and who loves me and this kid whom I adore and they are also so nuts about each other. The pair of them are simply the best things that have ever happened to me. I always hold him (the baby, I mean) for a couple of minutes after he's finished nursing at bedtime and just look at him, but sometimes I think I could hold him all night. (NB the times I have considered that I might have to hold him all night have not been wonderful times.) The way he loves us is - literally, according to the actual definition of the word - awesome. When I'm completely exhausted it's sometimes helpful to remind myself that more of the time I'm overwhelmed with joy.

Gratitudes

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:53 pm
kass: a container full of wooden spoons for cooking (spoons)
[personal profile] kass
1. I made two really tasty things with my farm share yesterday: napa cabbage slaw (soy, sesame, fresh lime juice, rice vinegar, scallions, and peanuts) as well as a kohlrabi salad from Yotam Ottolenghi (fresh lemon juice, olive oil, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, fresh mint, and I'll add arugula á la minute) and they will be tonight's dinner along with some roasted chicken thighs. Om nom nom.

2. This morning I was really good at what I do.

3. This afternoon I went for a walk with kiddo and the visiting [livejournal.com profile] ltlbird, and after that we played card games and watched cartoons, and these have been lovely ways to spend a Shabbes afternoon.

4. This weekend I've been reading a draft of something awesome and offering beta comments and that is making me super-happy.

5. I spent some time learning today about the origins of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon, and Magic: the Gathering (my kid asked me which came first and I did not know, but now I do.) It's neat to be learning things about geek culture because my kid wants to know more.

How are y'all?

Book Review

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:54 pm
kenjari: (Default)
[personal profile] kenjari
Uncle Silas
by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Uncle Silas is an early example of the suspense/horror novel. Maud Ruthyn is a 17 year old girl recently orphaned by the death of her father, who has also left her heir to a very large fortune. She is placed under the guardianship of her sickly yet sinister Uncle Silas, whom she has had no prior relationship due to a terrible scandal that left Silas in utter disgrace. Despite Maud's at times naive determination to see her uncle in a positive and charitable light, her life as her uncle's ward soon becomes frightening as mysterious and menacing events start piling up.
This novel has a lot of the Gothic in it - gloomy old manor houses, brooding landscapes, strange people, dark secrets, and a few hints of the supernatural. It also has a lot of the "sensation novel" as well - suspense, mysteries to be solved,and crimes committed. The combination is very successful and satisfying. Sheridan Le Fanu's writing can at times seem a little overwrought, but it works in Uncle Silas because the narrator, Maud, is a teenaged girl attempting to cope with a very dangerous and disturbing situation. while the suspense does build more slowly than in modern thrillers, it was still effective and made the last couple of chapters exciting reading.

Gratitudes

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:01 pm
kass: glasses of pink wine (rose)
[personal profile] kass
1. Beautiful summer skies.

2. A glass of pink wine. (See icon.)

3. Lunch with someone I dearly love. \o/!

4. The entertainment value of watching my son play his first game of Magic: the Gathering today.

5. The prospect of an evening of Great British Bake-Off with [personal profile] sanj once I put Mr. Kid to bed, huzzah.

Book Review

Jul. 15th, 2017 07:42 pm
kenjari: (St. Cecilia)
[personal profile] kenjari
Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World
by John Szwed

This biography of song collector, ethnomusicologist, and singer Alan Lomax was endlessly fascinating and wonderful to read. This is one of the rare non-fiction books that is as compelling and absorbing as a good novel. Szwed takes an all-encompassing view of Lomax, delving into his beginnings as an assistant to his father's song-collecting, his alliance with progressive causes, the FBI's investigations of him, his sometimes contentious views on the importance of folksong - especially that of African-Americans - to American national identity, and his complex relationships to the worlds of academia and popular culture. The only thing that gets a little shorted is Lomax's personal life and relationships, as Szwed concentrates mainly on Lomax's career.
Although the biography is clearly not a hagiography, it is clear that Szwed admires Lomax and it is hard not to share in that admiration. Whatever Lomax's personal failings, Szwed makes it clear that Lomax was an important figure in the preservation and popularization of American folk music, an ardent promoter of the musicians who played it, and a true believer in its value.
fox: cartoon drawing of oven with single bun in it (bun in the oven)
[personal profile] fox
Ten days ago (is that all?!), I wrote of the prince, Yeah, no, the first night he ate sweet potatoes he woke up at 11 and at 3. Last night he woke up at 10:30 (when I had only been asleep for maybe 20 minutes; Himself had to get out of bed and come stand next to my side to wake me, because shaking me from his side of the bed wasn't doing it; it was pretty startling) and 2:30, and I'll grant he had sweet potatoes at dinner, but he's had sweet potatoes lots of times. I'm pretty sure in fact what that previous two-wakeup night and last night had in common that no two other nights in his life have had is this: In each case, the previous two nights we'd given him children's Benadryl in the hope that it would ease up his congestion while he slept. It's the only thing his doctor said we could give him other than baby Tylenol. So now I think we have learned a thing: 2.5 mL of children's Benadryl will in fact knock out an 18-lb infant for 11 or 12 hours (in fact it will turn him to a rag doll in less time than it takes him to nurse to sleep) - but the come-down is a bitch.

Book Review

Jul. 12th, 2017 03:36 pm
kenjari: (Christine de Pisan)
[personal profile] kenjari
Managing Student Assistants: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians
by Kimberly Burke Sweetman

Sweetman's book is pretty much what it says on the cover. It's a very easy, straightforward read. I liked the inclusion of real-world examples and explanation, although there are a few out-dated pieces of advice as the book was published in 2006. Sweetman heavily concentrates on the pre-hire steps: including determining the need for student staff, defining student positions, and setting up a hiring procedure. Thus, the book was less useful for those of us who stepped into institutions where the student staff is well-established.

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