Archive for the 'Shopping' Category

From the Archives: Five Holiday Gifts

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Last year I posted this on 11/1. Ha!! This year, I think I remembered posting it last year, and didn’t realize I’d actually posted it, since I’ve all but stopped blogging, and now it’s December 13. Well, you have almost two weeks of shopping. Sorry, folks, for the lateness.

From the archives, on gift giving for kids:
Star Tribune 12/24/89 - Pat Gardner “Tender Years”

The weeks of hectic preparation are coming to a close. Within days, the magic will begin to unfold for our children and, vicariously through them, for us. Just as we remember those wonderful Christmas Eves and mornings long ago, our children will one day look back on these days. How will they remember them? What are you giving your children this year?

I know one family of modest means that makes a great effort to celebrate Christmas in the best way possible. Their children always find five gifts under the tree. And more than that, the gifts are always accompanied by a parent. Here’s how they do it.

The children always receive a gift to hug and love. Sometimes it’s a doll or maybe a stuffed animal. Every Christmas each child has something to care for, to carry along and finally at night to share a bed, secrets and dreams.

The wise parents know that the children will themselves learn to care for others by practicing on dolls and stuffed animals. Mom and Dad demonstrate rocking the stuffed bear and wiping the doll’s face. They talk about being gentle and giving care.

More important, they treat their children tenderly. They make a special effort at this busy time of year for a little more lap time, more frequent hugs and all the physical care and attention their young children need.

The children in this family always receive something to read. The parents know that to give them books is to give them wings. The little ones get books, and the big ones get books. Books aren’t foreign to any member of this family. Books are treasures. And more than that, they become a daily connection between parent and child.

The wise parents know that the best way to raise a reader is to read to a child….They share curiosity. They take the time to listen patiently to their beginning reader. They share discoveries. Through books, these parents explore worlds within their home and beyond their front door with all of their children.

The children receive toys and games. These parents are concerned about each child’s skills and find fun ways to enhance their present capabilities and encourage further development. For a grasping baby, a crib gym; for a beginning walker, a push toy; for a pre-schooler, a shape and color sorter; for a beginning reader, a game of sequence and strategy.

The parents know that play is the work of childhood. They understand that to meet a child at her level of accomplishment is to encourage success in play. Success stimulates motivation and interest in a challenge. So the parents judge their toy and game choices carefully. Not too easy, but not too hard.

They they do the most important thing. They play with their children. The children see that learning is a toy, that it’s fun to challenge oneself, that play can be a very social activity, that it’s OK to win and also to lose and that Mom and Dad wholeheartedly approve of play.

The children in this family always receive a gift of activity. From a simple ball or jump rope to a basketball hoop or a pair of ice skates, they always have one gift that encourages action.

The parents know that those children who, by nature, are very active may need to be channeled into acceptable and appropriate activities. And they know that those children who, by nature, are very passive may need to be encouraged to move with purpose. But their message to their children is that physical activity is important and good.

These parents make their message clear by joining their children in physical play. They skate and play catch. They’re on the floor with their crawlers and walk hand in hand with their toddlers. They get bumped and bruised and laugh and shout. They sled and they bowl. And many times in the next few weeks when resting on the couch sounds much more inviting, these parents will give their kids one more gift. They’ll get up and play with them.

The children always receive a gift of artistic expression. They might find crayons, paints or markers in their stockings. It might be a gift of clay this year or rubber stamps or scissors and glue. The materials change, but the object remains the same: create with joy.

These wise parents aren’t terribly concerned about the mess of finger paints. They’re more concerned about the exposure to unique sensations. They want their children to use their imaginations. They want their children to approach life in a hands-on fashion. And they want them to express themselves through their artistic activities in ways that exceed their vocabularies.

In Search Of…

Friday, April 5th, 2013

I’m 45. I wondered recently if because my Granny is almost 99, if this didn’t make me less than middle aged. Alas, it was a joke, and I’m recently butting up against trying to dress my aging self. I’m thinking wistfully of the time my yoga instructor said to me, “Your abs look aMAzing!”

To which I responded, “Not for long, I’m 6 weeks pregnant.” And that was the last we saw of my flat belly, though I suppose I should take some consolation that it went out at the top of its game.

Now, though, it’s a definite bulge, and my current challenge is that I can’t find a clothing layer that covers both my belly and my boobs. If it’s long enough at the bottom, it’s plunging, often below the edge of my bra at the top. If it covers my (admittedly scanty) cleavage (aka Cleave-land) then it hits about my belly button.

So I’m desperately seeking something–a tank, a camisole–that can meet both needs. I have one Bordeaux top that a friend gave me that does pretty well, though new ones are price-y (or spendy as we say here in MN) at $55. I picked up some Alfani camis (no longer available on their site) from the Macy’s sale rack shopping with my sister last week.

I also ordered a couple things online, and was reminded of the problem with online purchases–easy to buy, hard to return. So I think I’m back to shopping in person. And yet, shopping isn’t exactly the best use of my time. Sigh.

But my prey is elusive, and I suspect this is EXACTLY the kind of silly quest that distracts me from things I really should be doing, like writing, some volunteer work at the boys’ school, exercising, and cleaning house. I do so love silly quests.

From the Archives: Five Holiday Gifts

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

I remembered! I remembered to post The Five Holiday Gifts early this year!

I met a friend today who said her 4yo daughter woke up this morning, the day after Halloween, and asked if it was Christmas yet. So here, in plenty of time, which is completely uncharacteristic of me (what’s next, an on-time, good-quality holiday card?) is this article that helps me every year.

Your advice: my boys are 6.5 and 9yo. They have a bazillion stuffed animals. Advice on the gift to hug and love? And no, sister Sydney, nothing alive counts for my allergic boys and their anxious, impatient mom.

From the archives, on gift giving for kids:
Star Tribune 12/24/89 - Pat Gardner “Tender Years”

The weeks of hectic preparation are coming to a close. Within days, the magic will begin to unfold for our children and, vicariously through them, for us. Just as we remember those wonderful Christmas Eves and mornings long ago, our children will one day look back on these days. How will they remember them? What are you giving your children this year?

I know one family of modest means that makes a great effort to celebrate Christmas in the best way possible. Their children always find five gifts under the tree. And more than that, the gifts are always accompanied by a parent. Here’s how they do it.

The children always receive a gift to hug and love. Sometimes it’s a doll or maybe a stuffed animal. Every Christmas each child has something to care for, to carry along and finally at night to share a bed, secrets and dreams.

The wise parents know that the children will themselves learn to care for others by practicing on dolls and stuffed animals. Mom and Dad demonstrate rocking the stuffed bear and wiping the doll’s face. They talk about being gentle and giving care.

More important, they treat their children tenderly. They make a special effort at this busy time of year for a little more lap time, more frequent hugs and all the physical care and attention their young children need.

The children in this family always receive something to read. The parents know that to give them books is to give them wings. The little ones get books, and the big ones get books. Books aren’t foreign to any member of this family. Books are treasures. And more than that, they become a daily connection between parent and child.

The wise parents know that the best way to raise a reader is to read to a child….They share curiosity. They take the time to listen patiently to their beginning reader. They share discoveries. Through books, these parents explore worlds within their home and beyond their front door with all of their children.

The children receive toys and games. These parents are concerned about each child’s skills and find fun ways to enhance their present capabilities and encourage further development. For a grasping baby, a crib gym; for a beginning walker, a push toy; for a pre-schooler, a shape and color sorter; for a beginning reader, a game of sequence and strategy.

The parents know that play is the work of childhood. They understand that to meet a child at her level of accomplishment is to encourage success in play. Success stimulates motivation and interest in a challenge. So the parents judge their toy and game choices carefully. Not too easy, but not too hard.

They they do the most important thing. They play with their children. The children see that learning is a toy, that it’s fun to challenge oneself, that play can be a very social activity, that it’s OK to win and also to lose and that Mom and Dad wholeheartedly approve of play.

The children in this family always receive a gift of activity. From a simple ball or jump rope to a basketball hoop or a pair of ice skates, they always have one gift that encourages action.

The parents know that those children who, by nature, are very active may need to be channeled into acceptable and appropriate activities. And they know that those children who, by nature, are very passive may need to be encouraged to move with purpose. But their message to their children is that physical activity is important and good.

These parents make their message clear by joining their children in physical play. They skate and play catch. They’re on the floor with their crawlers and walk hand in hand with their toddlers. They get bumped and bruised and laugh and shout. They sled and they bowl. And many times in the next few weeks when resting on the couch sounds much more inviting, these parents will give their kids one more gift. They’ll get up and play with them.

The children always receive a gift of artistic expression. They might find crayons, paints or markers in their stockings. It might be a gift of clay this year or rubber stamps or scissors and glue. The materials change, but the object remains the same: create with joy.

These wise parents aren’t terribly concerned about the mess of finger paints. They’re more concerned about the exposure to unique sensations. They want their children to use their imaginations. They want their children to approach life in a hands-on fashion. And they want them to express themselves through their artistic activities in ways that exceed their vocabularies.

So, What Did You Do Last Weekend?

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

img_2594

I went to the Half-Price books Clearance Event in the grandstand at the State Fairgrounds and got a whopping two hours to cruise up and down the boxes of children’s books. Interestingly, 2 hours was not enough time. For just children’s chapter books. There were THAT many books. Also, my knees and thighs were sore the next day from the constant knee bends of looking through the box atop the table, then below it. Up, down, up, down for two hours. Ouch. Yes, used book shopping made my muscles sore; I’m THAT out of shape.

In my defense, about a third of these are for Drake and Guppy. But oh, last summer’s Shelf Discovery Readalong has made me a junkie for old YA MMPBs (i.e., Young Adult Mass Market Paperbacks)

Baby’s Got a Brand New Bag

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Or: Nerdishly Obsessing over Bicycling Backpacks

img_2529

My husband and I both love bags. We have scads of them. The thing about bags, as with bikes and so many other things, is that you don’t know what works and what doesn’t till you’ve been living with something for a while.

For some time now, I’ve been muddling along with my husband’s old broke-ass gigantic backpack. It was too big, missing a lining, black on the inside, and with a rolltop that I nearly always have to undo and redo because I’ve forgotten to put in or take out something. In other words, completely unacceptable.

Now that fall is here, I’m making longer jaunts on my bike as the boys are back in school. I felt a growing resolve for a new bag. And so my quest began, which ended with my purchase of a Banjo Brothers Metro Bag. Here’s how I came to that decision.

metro_pack

I wanted a flap closure, not a rolltop. The latter is better for absolute water proofing, which isn’t such an issue for me, since I’m mostly a fair-weather biker. Since I often forget to put things in and take things out of my bag, easy access is more important to me. Rolltops also tend to ride higher above the shoulders, so they can lessen visibility. Choosing flap rather than rolltop ruled out Trash bags, most Beard bags, Seal Lines, and the handsome Chrome Orlov.

I knew from the black pack I’d been using that a dark interior doesn’t work for me. I needed a light-colored interior to better see what’s inside. Bags with dark interiors I ruled out were Bailey Works (such great color choices!) and Mission Workshop.

metro_int

I also needed two side pockets. I like to carry my U-lock in my bag, for less rattly bang when I’m riding, and I don’t have a water bottle holder on my bike, so I like a 2nd pocket for the bottle and to stash my keys in. This ruled out the Beard Loiterer, as well as Chrome and Mission Workshop bags. The Timbuk2 Swig had only one pocket.

metro_ulock

metrowater_bottle

I also need a bunch of interior pockets for littler stuff like pens, wallet, book, etc:

metro_pockets

I’d tried using conventional backpacks without a chest strap, but they made my shoulders ache. The Banjo Brothers Metro has both a chest strap and one at the bottom for even more support.

metro_back

At the end of my search, I found one bag that had everything I wanted, and then some. The Banjo Brothers Metro in White had a light interior, double side pockets (though I wish they were a bit more deep), and a flap top. It was neither too big nor too small. The phone carrier on the strap, where I like it to be, is included, not an extra purchase. The interior has good organizational pockets. Bonuses: Banjo Brothers is a Twin Cities company, so local to me, and the bag was $74.99, significantly less than many of the other bags I looked at.

I’ll have to live with it for a while to see how it works out. Already I’ve noticed it rides higher on my shoulders than I’d like even though it’s not a rolltop. But everything else so far is good. I’m glad I waited a while to see what I wanted in a bag, rather than rushing into a relationship before I was ready.

Labor Day Weekend Book Bender, part deux

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

In my defense…oh, I’ll just shut up now. I do not have time to read these books, I cannot afford them, and I don’t have shelf space for them. Yet, I bought them anyway. Another possible epitaph for me.

Also, the blog is showing these pics in a fun-house format, and I have no idea how to fix it. I hope the books aren’t self-conscious because they look fatter than they are in real life.

weight_stax

The titles, and becauses:

Weight by Jeannette Winterson. A candidate for the book group I moderate. And: $2! Part of the Canongate Myth series, along with Buddha and A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong.
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Because Stevenson was mentioned in Peace Like a River, and that’s all the excuse I need.
Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler. A candidate for the book group. (I’m auditioning them, doncha know? Also known as: nerdishly obsessing and compulsively buying.)
Oliver Twist by Dickens. The Penguin cloth-bound cover!
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. (Who was also mentioned in Peace Like a River, but this title wasn’t.) The Ruben Toledo Cover!

G. Grod to me: You aren’t actually going to read that again, are you?
Me: …
Him: You bought it for the cover, didn’t you?
Me: …

But oh, can you blame me for buying these books (at half price plus 20% off) for THESE covers?

oliver_detail

scarlet_detail

Labor Day Weekend Book Bender, part 1

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

20% off at Half Price books over the long Labor Day weekend, and I had a very satisfying time combing through their Highland Park store in St. Paul:

semisonic_stax

The goods, and the becauses:

Semisonic Pleasure and All About Chemistry: we just saw Semisonic at the MN state fair, and decided to address these gaps in our local music collection
Buddha by Karen Armstrong. Because some members of the book group I moderate want us to read this. And I’d passed it up twice.
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. A candidate for the same book group.
True Grit by Charles Portis. $2!
Main Street. Oh, what, you remember me getting this already, recently. Alas, the print in the MMPB was too small. I chose to get this Modern Library edition for my aging eyes.
The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. A candidate for the above book group.
Not pictured: The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. For my husband, because The Biblioracle recommended it. Also, $2!

2 Thoughts on 1 Book Stack

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

img_24761

(Note how artfully I included the receipt.)

Thought 1: This is actually restraint for me. There are at least 3 books I put back on the shelf and didn’t get today.

Thought 2: I am turning into my mother, buying books on religion and stacking them all over the house and not reading them.

Here’s why I got these particular lovelies today:

Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis: candidate for my group that reads books on myth and religion. Recommended by author Marlon James.

The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Candidates for the book group, and ones I used to own and couldn’t find when I went to look for recently. A scene in Peace Like a River reminded me of The Great Divorce, and I wanted to re-read it.

A Short History of Myth
by Karen Armstrong. Also for the book group. Passed over Armstrong’s Buddha for this, though one member has been lobbying hard for the latter. Think we’ll read this alongside Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt.

The Moviegoer
by Walker Percy. Also for the book group. (I’ve been nerdishly obsessing over what next year’s books are going to be. Alas, most were ones I didn’t already own.)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson. On clearance for $2! Also, went to look for this after Stevenson’s books were mentioned in Peace Like a River, and found I didn’t own it.

Severe Book-Buying Problem, part deux

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

img_2387

Veronica Mars Season 1 DVD, because my husband and I both wanted to watch it again, and came to this decision independently
The Brothers Karamazov, because it was a brand new copy for $2!
Wuthering Heights, because it was the beautiful Ruben Toledo cover (details below)
This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff, because the Biblioracle said so
Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West, ditto
Nicholas by Sempe/Goscinny, because I wanted it, even if 9yo Drake didn’t
Dr. Who Time Traveller’s Almanac, because Drake wanted it
Star Wars Head to Head (who would win in imaginary battles between characters), because 6yo Guppy wanted it

img_2391

I Have a Severe Book-Buying Problem

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

books_stpaul

I can say with some confidence that the St. Paul Half Price Books on Ford Parkway, conveniently near Quixotic Coffee, has the best selection of used children’s and young-adult books around and a generous clearance section. I can also say I probably did not need to bring home FOURTEEN new (used) books.

But, but, I didn’t bring home even more, because I wanted even more, so that makes it better, right?

Um, yeah.

It is a problem because:

1. we don’t have unlimited funds (but this stack only cost $43!)
2. We ran out of bookshelf space a long time ago and now have teetering stacks…
3. …of unread books, because there’s no way I have time to read all I buy.

And yet, there is always a reason, which seems compelling at the time. I am a master of because reasoning. Herewith, the book stack and the becauses that are in addition to Drake being almost 9 and thus totally ready for many of these, right?

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis: for one of my book groups, only $1
Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle: from Shelf Discovery, old-school MMPB
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl: because nearly 9yo Drake just finished his dad’s old copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, unearthed from Grammy’s basement.
Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman: Trina Schart Hyman cover (my favorite children’s illustrator)
Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren: Ditto above
The Girl with Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts: From Shelf Discovery, plus got a lotta love in the SD Readalong
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh: Ditto above
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: I love Oxford editions
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder: one of my favorites as a girl; want to revisit after reading Shelf Discovery
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey: from Shelf Discovery
My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews: From Shelf Discovery, a teen edition(?!)
Pride and Prejudice: I am slowly collecting all the Austen novels in these lovely Penguin editions.
Here Comes Charlie Moon: by English author Shirley Hughes, whom I fell in love with after discovering her Alfie picture books
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder: See The Egypt Game above.

From the Archives: Five Holiday Gifts

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Sigh. Three days later than last year.

From the archives, on gift giving for kids:
Star Tribune 12/24/89 - Pat Gardner “Tender Years”

The weeks of hectic preparation are coming to a close. Within days, the magic will begin to unfold for our children and, vicariously through them, for us. Just as we remember those wonderful Christmas Eves and mornings long ago, our children will one day look back on these days. How will they remember them? What are you giving your children this year?

I know one family of modest means that makes a great effort to celebrate Christmas in the best way possible. Their children always find five gifts under the tree. And more than that, the gifts are always accompanied by a parent. Here’s how they do it.

The children always receive a gift to hug and love. Sometimes it’s a doll or maybe a stuffed animal. Every Christmas each child has something to care for, to carry along and finally at night to share a bed, secrets and dreams.

The wise parents know that the children will themselves learn to care for others by practicing on dolls and stuffed animals. Mom and Dad demonstrate rocking the stuffed bear and wiping the doll’s face. They talk about being gentle and giving care.

More important, they treat their children tenderly. They make a special effort at this busy time of year for a little more lap time, more frequent hugs and all the physical care and attention their young children need.

The children in this family always receive something to read. The parents know that to give them books is to give them wings. The little ones get books, and the big ones get books. Books aren’t foreign to any member of this family. Books are treasures. And more than that, they become a daily connection between parent and child.

The wise parents know that the best way to raise a reader is to read to a child….They share curiosity. They take the time to listen patiently to their beginning reader. They share discoveries. Through books, these parents explore worlds within their home and beyond their front door with all of their children.

The children receive toys and games. These parents are concerned about each child’s skills and find fun ways to enhance their present capabilities and encourage further development. For a grasping baby, a crib gym; for a beginning walker, a push toy; for a pre-schooler, a shape and color sorter; for a beginning reader, a game of sequence and strategy.

The parents know that play is the work of childhood. They understand that to meet a child at her level of accomplishment is to encourage success in play. Success stimulates motivation and interest in a challenge. So the parents judge their toy and game choices carefully. Not too easy, but not too hard.

They they do the most important thing. They play with their children. The children see that learning is a toy, that it’s fun to challenge oneself, that play can be a very social activity, that it’s OK to win and also to lose and that Mom and Dad wholeheartedly approve of play.

The children in this family always receive a gift of activity. From a simple ball or jump rope to a basketball hoop or a pair of ice skates, they always have one gift that encourages action.

The parents know that those children who, by nature, are very active may need to be channeled into acceptable and appropriate activities. And they know that those children who, by nature, are very passive may need to be encouraged to move with purpose. But their message to their children is that physical activity is important and good.

These parents make their message clear by joining their children in physical play. They skate and play catch. They’re on the floor with their crawlers and walk hand in hand with their toddlers. They get bumped and bruised and laugh and shout. They sled and they bowl. And many times in the next few weeks when resting on the couch sounds much more inviting, these parents will give their kids one more gift. They’ll get up and play with them.

The children always receive a gift of artistic expression. They might find crayons, paints or markers in their stockings. It might be a gift of clay this year or rubber stamps or scissors and glue. The materials change, but the object remains the same: create with joy.

These wise parents aren’t terribly concerned about the mess of finger paints. They’re more concerned about the exposure to unique sensations. They want their children to use their imaginations. They want their children to approach life in a hands-on fashion. And they want them to express themselves through their artistic activities in ways that exceed their vocabularies.

Book Bender

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

I’ve bought a lot of books lately. Starting my own book group has meant I need to buy copies of things I want to audition, right? Plus there are my other two book groups. And thus, this tower.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (because I want to read his second, and thus want to read his first, first.)
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor (someone recommended it for my religion/mythic fiction book group)
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (ditto above)
Purple Hibiscus by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie (because a friend said she loved it)
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (rec. for book group)
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (because my recent reads of Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse made me want to re-read this)
The Hours by Michael Cunningham (because I’m reading Mrs. Dalloway for the upcoming myth/religion book group)
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (rec for book group, local author)
Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie (next selection of my women’s book group)
The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov, ed. Burgin and O’Connor (likely the November myth book group book. This translation was the one that seemed to have the most love)
Lonely Polygamist by Bradley Udall (for Books and Bars)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Foer (September pick for myth book group)
Jane Eyre by Bronte, Penguin edition with cover by Ruben Toledo. (I collect editions of this, and loved this one so much I couldn’t leave the store without it.) Details of this one below.

Toledo Jane Eyre cover

Toledo inside front gaatefold cover Jane Eyre

Toledo Jane Eyre back cover

Toledo Jane Eyre back cover and gatefold cover

(sorry no links; too tired. maybe later)

Book Bender(s)

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Good thing I decided I wasn’t going to make any more silly vows about not buying or borrowing books before I read the ones at home, right?

img_4989

From Half-Price Books, St. Louis Park. I went in looking for Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I left with these:

Count Zero by William Gibson. Reading the Bigend trilogy made me want to go back and read everything by Gibson.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I chose this for my book group on fiction with religious and mythic themes. I have a signed HC of this, so I wanted a beater copy to re-read. )(There’s a 10th anniversary HC out this June. Ten years? I remember going to Dreamhaven to hear him read from this.)

Farmer Boy and Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Because I’m brainstorming a new summer reading project of Lizzie Skurnick’s Shelf Discovery and all the books she references in it (yeah, it’s about 70, so what?), one of which is Farmer Boy. I meant to get Little _House_ on the Prairie, since we already have Little House in the Big Woods, but got “Town” instead. Ah, well, guess I’ll just have to go shopping again. Heh.

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself and It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume. Both are referenced in Shelf Discovery.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. His follow-up to American Gods.

Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman. Recommended to me ages ago by my friend Rock Hack. I really enjoyed the recent interview with Goodman at Bookslut, especially this:

Really good fiction operates on you more like a slow poison — in a good way. It enters your bloodstream and changes the way that you look at the world without your realizing it.

God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam. Because I _loved_ Old Filth, The Man in the Wooden Hat, and The People on Privilege Hill.

But that is not all, oh no, that is not all!

img_4990

On Rue Tatin
by Susan Hermann Loomis. From my mother, since my dad and sisters just returned from vacation in Normandy.

Super Natural Every Day
by Heidi Swanson. Because I like her site, 101 Cookbooks, and her other book, Super Natural Cooking.

Continuing with the wretched excess, here’s what I have out from the library:

library_books

Riddley Walker
by Russell Hoban. Which I’m reading now because a friend said her friend recommended it over The Road. It’s future slang is difficult to wade through, but I’m loving the main character, and will persevere. I think it will pay off.

The Death of Adam
by Marilynne Robinson. I wanted to read this in the wake of Gilead. Many challenging essays on a variety of literary and religious topics, I’m reading one at a time between other books. Many are a defense of Calvin and Puritanism.

Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood. Research in the wake of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Margaret Atwood: Vision and Forms ed. by Kathryn VanSpanckeren and Jan Garden Castro, and Margaret Atwood: A Biography by Natalie Cooke. Ditto above.

Younger Next Year for Women by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge. Recommended by a friend in book group. Premise is that sitting tells your body to decay, moving keeps it young and strong.

The Yoga Body Diet by Kristen Schultz Dollard and Dr. John Douillard. Recommended in Yoga Journal, it sounded like a good, albeit pop-y, intro to Ayurveda. I thought I was Pitta, but am Vata instead. I’m so not a Kapha.

Oh, did you think that was all? Bwah, ha ha!

img_4991

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. Marilynne Robinson says the Puritans weren’t so bad. Margaret Atwood says they were intolerant and wanted a theocracy. Who to believe? I’m going to re-read Vowell, who I think falls more on the Robinson side of the debate.

Unwritten volume 3. An ongoing series about a Harry Potter-ish character that plays fast and loose with many layers of fiction.

Fables volume 15: Rose Red. Another of the ongoing comic-book series I read in collections, since I tend to forget things when I read them in monthly installments.

And with that, gentle readers, I am going off to nurse my wrist. WAY too many links in this one.

Favorite Things!

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Or, what I did instead of writing and napping.

Shopped at Barnes & Noble Galleria (but didn’t buy anything.)

Shopped at Half Price Books in St. Louis Park (um, did buy some stuff; book stack photo to come)

Lunch of mushroom stroganoff with tofu drizzled with Sriracha sauce at Noodles and Co.

Double of Clusterfluff (Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Caramel Cluster Pieces, Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Swirls) and Chocolate Therapy (Chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookies and swirls of chocolate pudding) at Ben & Jerry’s, plus they were having a 3-fer sale:

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It’s not the hubby who’s going to get chubby around here, it’s me.

Book Stack

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Can we all get together and agree to stop vowing to stop buying books? It’s what we _do_, people! I’ve fallen off the wagon so many times that I’ve learned the pleasure of walking. So I’m going to buy books. In moderation. Whatever that means.

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The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. To read as a possible selection for the book group I started on fiction with themes of myth and religion.

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich. Ditto the above. (Extra points for local authors!)

Enter Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. A collection of the very first Jeeves stories, which aren’t usually anthologized because Bertie wasn’t even necessarily Bertie Wooster yet. Had to have. Love Jeeves.

Cakewalk by Kate Moses. Because I gave my, previous copy to my sister for her birthday, and NEED to have that chocolate chip cookie recipe at hand.

More Books

Friday, March 4th, 2011

books_oranges

As I mentioned in my last post, having multiple books groups as the Tournament of Books approaches does not help me curb my predilection for book buying.

The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison, as I’ve not read it, and this edition has a new essay by the author.

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson, winner of last year’s Man Booker prize, a contestant in the ToB, and literature about religion.

What I Do After I Visit the Dentist

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

After the Dentist

I have been going to the same dentist office for 12 years. The previous dentist retired, and a new one bought his practice. They know our family, and can even say which son’s teeth seem like which parent’s. Best of all, right downstairs is one of the best Half Price Books in the area. (I worked there 12 years ago, which is why I started seeing that dentist.)

No trip is complete without a stop before or after to the bookstore. This stack of four was me restraining myself.The combination of The Morning News Tournament of Books, plus the new book group I’ve started, in which we’re reading fiction with themes of religion and mythology, hits me right in my vulnerable, compulsive book-buying spot. These I’m considering for the book group:

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller, Jr.
Lamb by Christopher Moore
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood

After the bookstore, I go to Rustica bakery for an excellent coffee drink (macchiato nowadays) and their bittersweet chocolate cookies. Post-bookstore Rustica is one of my very happiest places.

Off the Wagon

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

3yo Guppy and I had some time to kill before his dentist appointment this morning. I know I always say I need to read more of what I’ve got rather than buying new or used, but these fairly flew off the shelves at me, crying, “Take me home! Home!”

So I did.



Little Black Book of Stories
by A.S. Byatt
The Unpossessed by Tess Schesinger, which I saw reviewed in Vogue years ago, and wanted ever since
Expletives Deleted and Nights at the Circus (look at the gorgeous covers!) by Angela Carter
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, which I recently realized I didn’t own, and thus promptly corrected.

No More Book-Buy Bemoaning

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Regular readers know, I have a LOT of unread books. I write about them often. I read them less often. I fret and make vows, then break them, and fret some more after the book-buy buzz has worn off. I don’t think I’m alone. A reader suggested recently that I made a from-the-shelves challenge. I got inspired, so here are two related shelf challenges for the new year.

Who’s with me? Ideas? Suggestions? If you think these sound good, spread the word to the book-blogging community, and I’ll firm up details to launch at the new year.

2010 Balance the Books Challenge

I buy and borrow new books more often than I read books on my shelf. Often, the newly purchased books gather dust, and become old books. Next year, in 2010, I want to balance my reading. For the year, I’d like to read a third new books, a third borrowed books, and a third books from my shelf, whether first or re-reads.

I hope to get a color chart to track the progress with red/yellow/blue for each category. My ideal is to read as many shelf books as I borrow or buy new. I’ll do a post on or about the end of each month so readers can post progress reports.

Clear The Shelves Challenge (2010 and Beyond!)

In an effort to chip away at the nearly 200 books I own but haven’t read (and want to!), I challenge other readers to read at least 25 books a year that have been on your shelf for over a year. I’ll do quarterly posts for readers to post progress reports. At the end of the year, we could chip in for a gift certificate for the reader with the most shelf books read.

What’s Up (and Up) at Target?

Monday, June 1st, 2009

I noticed the change a few weeks ago in the diaper aisle. The former green box of Minneapolis-based Target-brand diapers was gone, replaced by a goldenrod-colored box with a chunky arrow, an “Up and Up” label, and a picture of a reasonably cute baby in a diaper. What it does not have? The familiar Target bullseye. The design of the interior product has changed, too. Instead of primary-colored polka dots with cute animal drawings, the diapers now simply have pastel blue and green dots.

The diapers are still the least expensive in the aisle. Diaper math tends to make my eyes bleed, since they purposely put such a weird number in each box, and each brand uses different numbers. I’ve used a calculator before (diapers cost about .$25 each), but once I figured out that Target-brand diapers were fine, and always inexpensive, I decided to stop messing about. Yeah, other diapers fit better and leak less. But as I head toward the dubious milestone of five years of diaper changing, I care less about my child’s comfort and instead hope any discomfort might just speed the learning process along.

Back to the new look for Target-brand. It was announced at Reuter’s last month, and has received some press already. In the past, most Target brand items have aped the color scheme of whatever brand they compete with, but with the Target bullseye. Now, though, the intent is to set the product apart on the shelf, though it still lists the brand name item to compare prices with. The Up and Up products look less cheap than they did with the old packaging, but still are inexpensive compared to other items. And that, in a nutshell, is the niche Target has mastered: better design at lower prices. For photos of Up and Up packaging next to the former Target brand, visit Under Consideration and My Private Brand, which also has photos of Target’s new reDesign brand for home items.

I’m intrigued to see what happens. It’s interesting they removed the trademarked bullseye. Yes, the chunky arrow is eye-catching, and it’s a clever metaphor, too: arrow->Target. But Target is one of the biggest and most well recognized brands out there. Messing with the store brand, especially in an economic trough, is a big risk.

In other Target news, they’re leading the way in bag recycling by NOT recycling. Instead they’re upcycling–taking existing plastic bags, fusing them in a brief heating process that created a new, stronger, bonded, reusable bag called a Retote. The process uses less energy than what’s needed to recycle bags.