Sunday, May 30, 2010

A New Blog

Kate and I have started a new book blog: Two Canadian Readers. We'll be posting reviews of books we've enjoyed.

Why a new blog, especially when I've been having trouble enough keeping this one up to date? First, I've been posting book reviews on LibraryThing regularly for the past year. I've not included the reviews here because I didn't want to clutter up this blog for those who come here for knitting patterns and family updates. More importantly, Kate was eager to have a place where she can post her own thoughts on her favourite books.

So we'll see how this new venture goes. The difficulty, of course, is in keeping it going once the initial enthusiasm wanes. However, if it gets both of us reading and writing more, even for a short time, then that's a good thing!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

48-Hour Book Challenge

It's time again for MotherReader's 48-Hour Book Challenge! This event will take place June 4-6, and the goal is to read as much as possible over a 48-hour period. Related activities include writing reviews on one's blog and visiting other participants' blogs to read their reviews.

I had so much fun doing this last year that I'll be joining again. Last time around, I read for 16 hours and finished 4 books, and I hope to increase those numbers this year. Kate has decided to join me as an unofficial participant.

For every hour I read/review/blog, I'm going to donate a dollar to The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region, an organization that provides adult literacy training. For every hour Kate reads, I will donate a dollar to her pick, The Central Asia Institute. This is the organization started by Greg Mortenson of Three Cups of Tea fame, to provide educational facilities in remote parts of central Asia.

Kate and I both have a stack of books ready to go. I've cleared my calendar of all commitments and warned the rest of my family that I will not be available for non-reading social activities or chores that weekend. Kate and I do have to attend a parent-child book club meeting on Sunday, but that sort of counts, doesn't it? Julia won't be joining, as she will be spending the entire weekend studying for her final exams, which take place the following week. The house will be very quiet, as long as Todd doesn't decide to hold a jam session.

Please consider joining us for this fun event or donating to these two very worthwhile charities!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

L-Shaped Wrap

Finally found a way to use up my leftover Louisa Harding Flotsam yarn. I made this L-shaped shawl with a feather-and-fan pattern (one of my favourite patterns -- so easy to do). The design is by Jill Gutman and the pattern is from the Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2010 issue. The shawl ended up a little smaller than planned, as I'd run out of yarn, so I'll have to find some way to make it stay on more securely. My lovely model in this photo is Julia.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Family Update

A family update is long overdue, and Mother's Day seems a good day to post one. We're all doing well, but it's been a busy year.

Over March Break, Julia went on an exchange trip to Switzerland with her French teacher and a number of classmates. She first spent three nights in Paris (lucky girl!!) before meeting her French-speaking host family in Switzerland. She received a very warm welcome from her hosts and had a fabulous time there. Among other experiences, she got to see the Louvre and go snowshoeing in the Alps. After her return, we hosted her exchange partner from Switzerland, a lovely girl named Zana. The school took her on the requisite trips to Niagara Falls and the CN tower, and we had our own family excursions to the AGO, Chinatown and the Eaton Centre (a must for most teen girls, it seems, regardless of nationality). We were much impressed by Zana's willingness to try all kinds of Asian food and her excellent command of English, and we hope to see her again in Canada in the future. A few weeks later, Julia went on another school trip, an intensive week-long science/technology course in Ottawa with her entire Grade 9 class.

Concert season is almost over for Kate. Within the past three weeks, she has performed in an orchestra concert, a group violin concert, four Kiwanis competitions (violin, piano and composition), a school talent show with her band (for which she plays guitar), and a dance recital. Phew! It's not usually this crazy, but somehow, all the season-end recitals landed at the same time. She has one more violin recital to do next weekend and then she plans to do nothing for an entire week except play computer games.

Todd is still doing the usual stuff: travelling for business, playing guitar, building tube amps. I'm still reading, knitting, and writing software. I've also been volunteering with the adult literacy centre, tutoring a student once a week. It's been an interesting and rewarding experience.

For those of you who have been concerned about my mother, I'm happy to report that Mom is out of the ICU now and on the road to recovery. She seemed in good spirits when I spoke to her today and is getting stronger every day. She is still in the hospital but will likely not have to stay there too much longer. Happy news indeed for Mother's Day!