Monday, March 15, 2010

How Jane Austen Improved My Eyesight

When I turned 25 I decided to start keeping track of the books I'd read.  I made this decision for two reasons.

First, because I was pregnant with my third child and had realized that children do indeed suck the brain cells right out of your head, leaving you unable to remember the color of the sky let alone which books you had or had not read.

Second, because I had goals.  When I told my brother that I was planning on getting 50 books read each year, he looked at me and said, "That's like one a week."  No doubt he was at that moment picturing the lack of brain cells left in my head.

Nevertheless, I have records to prove that I did pretty good on those goals, and averaged reading about 45 books a year until my 4th child arrived on the scene.  How many books did I read that year, you may ask.  Well, the first 6 months I read a grand total of 3 small books. The Whole Next Year I read a total of 7 books, and it was only that many because I was on vacation for a whole week that year.  One of those books just happened to be Pride and Prejudice.  The next year I read 10 books; one of them was Persuasion. The year after that I read Sense and Sensibility, and reread Persuasion (along with 28 other books.)  Jane Austen awoke a new appreciation for literature in me.

In 2008 I decided to attempt the 888 challenge: read 8 books in each of 8 different categories, and while I didn't reach that goal (I'm no good at reading only books on a preset list, I'm much more of an impulsive reader) I did manage to read 110 books that year.  Admittedly, many of those books were junior fiction books that I read to (or because of) my children, but if you've read any number of Sonlight books you'll agree that they are nothing to be sniffed at.  Oh, and there was more Jane Austen, of course.

Okay, so enough about Jane Austen and onto my eyesight.  I got glasses when I was in 5th grade because the chalkboard at school was looking blurry all of a sudden.  My eyesight worsened incrementally into my teens, and then remained the same until last year.  In September my contacts were all of a sudden feeling very strong, so I went to the optometrist.  My prescription had changed from -2.75 to -2.0.  The doctor wasn't too concerned, she said that it happens sometimes.

In January of this year I started getting headaches, and then realized that they disappeared when I took my glasses off, and reappeared when I put them back on.  So this week I finally got back into the optometrist.  My prescription is now -1.5.  The doctor looked at me quite skeptically, as if I was trying to pull one over on her. She repeatedly asked me if I'd been using the computer a lot more recently.  I kept telling her I hadn't, but that I had been reading a lot more in the last few years than in the years previously...she told me that all that reading could be improving my eyesight.

So, do I thank Jane Austen?  Maybe Sonlight for all the amazing Historical Fiction?  Maybe God for an answer to prayer?  Heredity? All 4? Other ideas?  Maybe it's the fact that the brain cell suckage has even out to a slow steady pace. I don't know, but it sure is a nice change.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Set it on Fire

Timothy got a blue ribbon for his Science Fair Project, but even better than that, he was really excited about it.  It is not a common occurrence for him to be excited about a large homework project, I assure was a picture taking opportunity.

Chris helped Timothy come up with the idea and provided motivation, and Gramps helped him with the building plan, supplies, construction and operation of the project (thank you Gramps!) All Timothy cared about was that he'd get to do something with FIRE.  When he got to add music into the mix, he was one happy camper.  His presentation was about the principle of sound waves, which he demonstrated with a Standing Wave Flame Tube.  He had a great time demonstrating it at the Science Fair; he got a fantastic response & drew a continual crowd.  Here are some pics:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not Worth Your Time. Really.

Some things I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I sit around and ponder:

-the word "moisturize"...when did that come into being?  it had to have been a marketing creation.  before "-ize" was fashionable didn't we just hydrate?  (sure enough, looked it up, first came into play in the 1940-50s)

-contrary to what seems to be the commonly held preference, I vastly prefer a nice paperback book to a hardcover book.  I can not stand dust jackets--they are forever falling off and getting in the way.  and let's be honest: a big hardcover book does not make it easy to read in bed.

-the words "honey" and "bunny" rhyme.  but I wish that they were also spelled alike.  I end up writing "hunny bunny" because "honey boney" is just. not. right.

-lemon slices in water is dreadful.  really.  it tastes like soap.

-how do you pronounce the word "comfortable"?  do you say comfort-uh-ble or comft-ur-ble ??  Interesting stuff there.

-where did "a whole 'nother" come from?  is it from "a whole other" or "another"? how is the word "whole" allowed to jump in the middle of "another"?  I'm confused.

That's all for now.  I told you it wasn't worth your time...maybe I should have told you I don't offer refunds.  oops.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Of Art and Quilts and Such

One summer day, not so many years ago, I sat at a round table in a banquet room watching my younger brother and my new sister in-law beam from ear to ear while getting to spend a little time with an aunt and uncle I rarely get to see.  I am not the best conversation mind sort of goes blank and I can't figure out what to say, but there is one definite area of interest I share with my uncle: art.  My uncle is an artist--he has been painting for many years.  I, as you may know, am a quilter...and occasionally I get the chance to spend some time on the more artistic side of quilting.  I love being creative, and seeing other people's creativity.

This particular summer day held a conversation that went something like this:

me:  So...I still don't have one of your paintings...
uncle:  well I still don't have one of your quilts...
me: hmmm. good point.

[insert thoughtful pause]

And that's how the deal was struck--he'd paint me a painting and I'd quilt him a quilt.  He thought--hmm, she likes trees...and I thought--hmm, his paintings often have high contrast colors...and finally, much time later, the deal has been completed, and I am so very happy with the results.

The painting:
The quilt: