I'm joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along, sharing a current crochet project and read-in-progress, a bit early because I have other blogging commitments later in the week (I'll add my post to her link-up tomorrow). I'm glad I decided to join the Yarn Along; I feel more organized already.
Crochet-wise, I'm still working on the ripple throw I shared last week. I've finished my second color segment and have moved onto a third one. All the yarn is Stylecraft Special DK; the new color is Meadow. I'm really enjoying this project; it's not quite mindless, since you have to count stitches as you go, but it feels sort of mind-clearing to work on anyway. I think it's the rhythm of the pattern. I always enjoy a project that lets me be both present and far away while I work on it.
I finished last week's book, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, over the weekend. It was good, but not as great as I'd hoped from reading reviews. The story was suspenseful, with an interesting subplot about being different - and whether that means wanting to stand out or wanting to blend in, depending on the character and his or her surroundings. I think this is an important aspect of the human condition and something virtually everyone can relate to. One thing that irked me about this book was the way the author seemed kind of desperate to create the setting (1970's Ohio) through endless references to books, music, movies, hairstyles, fashion, cars, food, etc. I know some of that was to help advance the conflict (being Asian, and being from a mixed-race family, in a more racist time and place), but I've read plenty of period novels where the setting comes through vividly with fewer reminders.
I'm now reading a cookbook, which I often read as if they were novels; to me a good cookbook can be captivating. The Family Cooks by Laurie David is an excellent resource for cooking healthy family meals together. David offers lots of tips and suggestions for involving even young children in kitchen tasks. I borrowed this book from the library as part of my planning for the summer break; we keep our homeschool going through the summer even though our school is out for the summer. One of our goals this summer is to get both small Bears doing more in the kitchen. They're at different levels, being three years apart in age, but both enjoy helping with meal planning and prep. We've been sitting together and choosing recipes to try; from this book, first up will probably be granola.
Thank you so much for the anniversary wishes! We had a nice evening out by ourselves this weekend, including a relatively fancy child-free seafood dinner and, later, coffee and cheesecake at a diner. We stayed out until the dizzying hour of 9:30. The rest of the weekend was spent on household tasks and recovering from the past few weeks of craziness. I barely touched my computer and I'm hopelessly behind on my blog feed now; I'm just going to start over with new posts. I hope you're all doing well and that you enjoyed your long weekend (I know they were happening in a few corners of the world).
I wanted to answer a couple of questions I've been asked recently. One was about our school calendar. Here in New Mexico, the schools are in session from about the second week of August until about the third week of May. Summer vacation is nearly three months long. There are two weeks off from school for the December holidays (with school back in session just after New Year's Day). There is a long weekend in October and another in February, and a week off around Easter. This is somewhat different from the school calendars I experienced when I was a child (and later a teacher) in the northeastern US. I will freely admit to having a raging case of UK-school-calendar envy. I think it makes a lot more sense.
I've also been asked to explain our own school situation. We're part-time homeschoolers, you could say. Our children attend an alternative public school in our city which is designed to help parents take a more active role in their children's education. The school provides 50% of their schooling hours and we do the rest at home. The truth is that we do a lot more than 50% at home - because we want to. We love teaching our own kids and we like having a traditional-school element as well. We think this plan gives us the best of both worlds.