This week, Carole’s prompt was 10 books that made you drop everything and read. I’ll tell you that I fought the very strong impulse to make #1-7 Harry Potter books. Because they are seriously and forever my favorites. But for the sake of variety, I chose the two most important HP books to me, and threw in a few others!
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – I happened across this book very serendipitously after school one day. I had never heard of Harry Potter before, but I finished this book before I went to bed that night. I was seriously enthralled with every bit. I don’t think I spoke to anyone the whole evening. And after that, Harry Potter was part of my life. It’s brought me a lot of joy, and connections to great people, and the books are the best!
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – This book came out two weeks before I moved to England to marry Mr Snips. I bought it at midnight when it came out and then practiced immense self-restraint and did not start it until I got on the plane. Then I sat by a poor, confused teenage boy who was traveling with his soccer team – wondering why everyone else got to sit with friends and he got stuck with the overly emotional stranger (in my defense, I was sobbing because of Dobby – it was terrible!).
- Something Missing – I read this for a book club, and it had me hooked. At the time, we were the thief’s target audience – a busy couple with predictable schedules who never would have noticed small bits of our stuff disappearing. I still think of this book regularly, though according to the book, he would have stopped stealing from us after we had BK.
- Suite Francaise – I was reading this on a plane and was so enamored with the complete beauty of this book that I did not notice we never stopped circling the city I was supposed to be leaving. The landing gear never came up, and we ended up having to land again at a very nearby airport, but I honestly didn’t realize it for a long time. I thought we were halfway to the destination when they announced we basically hadn’t moved because the book was that beautifully written.
- The Eyre Affair – Very witty and wonderful and about books. Genius idea. LOVE. In fact, read the whole series while you’re at it.
- A Life in Stitches – The best knitting memoir I’ve ever read. I really love Rachael Herron’s writing! I’ve read another of her books, and enjoyed it a lot, too.
- Snow White by Donald Barthelme – This is one I discovered in college. And though it’s a little trippy (Snow White is in a relationship with ALL of the dwarves), it hit me at the right moment and made me think differently about literature.
- The Little Prince – I bought this in English during the summer because I knew I would have to read it in French during the school year, and I honestly didn’t trust my French was good enough to understand any of it. But it turned out totally charming and wonderful and worth reading twice in two languages.
- The King in the Window – I read this when I worked at the library because I came across it when it was ready to be shelved. It was a captivating and magical read.
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Yes, it’s a silly but brilliant concept that a great President could also be a vampire hunter. But the author made it fit into Lincoln’s life, and I really enjoyed it.
Today’s Ten on Tuesday topic from Carole Knits is 10 things you do to calm down.
A few of my favorite calming things – including my current WIP.
- Knit. I’m not sure if she does it on purpose, but I think knitting has been an answer to every Ten on Tuesday I’ve ever participated in (with maybe the exception of the one about shoes. I don’t have special knitting shoes.). Anyway, getting in a couple of rows is sure to take the edge off almost anything.
- Go to Starbucks and order a tall, soy, no water, extra hot, Chai latte. If things are super dire, a grande. But this is most definitely my comfort drink.
- Make a cup of tea. This is an interesting one for me. I’d almost always pick coffee over tea, but the process of making tea is actually really calming. I didn’t know that until I moved to England. We used to communally make tea in my office (if you wanted one, you went round and asked everyone else and then usually commenced a rather large tea-making operation). But the process of putting the kettle on to boil, digging out tea bags, sweeteners and milk, and waiting for the tea to steep really gives you some calm time. Once my office got an instant hot water thing, it got way less relaxing. But I have an electric kettle at home, so I can still get the benefit somewhere!
- Take some deep breaths.
- Do yoga. Every time I do yoga, I am always surprised at how good it feels and the calm I feel afterwards.
- Read. Getting lost in someone else’s words crowds out the space in my mind where I have an annoying internal dialogue that could be keeping me from being calm.
- Eat chocolate. Sometime emotional eating is the way forward.
- Find a way to get some alone time. A few minutes in a room by myself can do wonders.
- Listen to music. Sometimes the right song is all you need.
- Take a cat nap. I am a master at 10 minute naps. And they work. For pretty much everything!
Well, my friends, much has been going on here at Chez Knitsnips. The most notable thing is that I managed to slice open my right pinky finger in one of my oven vent holes, and that has made both typing and knitting slightly challenging. I got my first set of injury stitches (4!) right across the pad of my finger, and I will tell you it hurt something fierce!
My recovery is moving right along now, so I’m up to participate in Ten on Tuesday with CaroleKnits again! The topic Carole has chosen for this week is “Ten things you do to your home to get it ready for fall.” Mine are:
- Decorate for fall. This usually includes some festive baskets.
- Decorate for Halloween. This includes a lot of things – and by that, I mean something in every room. I even put Halloween clings on the mirrors in the bathroom. I’m totally dedicated to Halloween!!
- Buy at least one potted mum. I usually kill it right away (on accident) – it is the only plant that we consistently don’t do well with at our house, but we keep trying!
- Decide on a Halloween costumes! So this isn’t part of the house, but very
- Buy, carve, and decorate with pumpkins!
- Buy Halloween candy. Yum yum yum. I have been resisting so far, but I dare say I won’t last much longer passing those bags of candy at the store!
- Stock up on coffee and tea. As the weather gets colder, the need to add an evening hot drink sounds too good to resist.
- Stock up on hot chocolate!
- Get out my pumpkin spice candle. Smells of amazing.
- Get out my beloved hand-painted ceramic haunted house that my mom made. Truly a treasured possession! (can’t find a picture of it at the moment – astounding, but true – but will try to share in a future post).
And there has been knitting going on, really and truly. I’ll share that soon, too.
After a long delay, I am rejoining with Carole Knits on Ten on Tuesday! The topic she chose for this week is 10 things to do in a waiting room. So here’s my list!
- Knit! That was an easy one, right?
- Blog. Sometimes if I forget my knitting, I draft a blog post on my phone.
- Play games on my phone.
- Watch TV. My doctor’s office usually has on HGTV, and I can’t resist an episode of House Hunters!
- Do work. That is both a benefit and a drawback of having a work phone with email access…
- Read. A benefit of having a Kindle app on my phone if I haven’t planned ahead to bring the actual Kindle.
- Check my social media.
- Read knitting blogs! 🙂
- Shop online. Hey, sometimes I need some time to browse Etsy and Amazon.
- Roll my eyes dramatically, sigh, check my watch, and try to find a fellow waiter who is also exasperated and will complain with me!
Wow… so I never realized how much my waiting habits have changed since I got my iPhone. I’m kind of ashamed that so many of these are focused around my phone, when I like to think that I’m not on my phone all the time, and actually engage with real life!
I was so excited when I found out that Carole had picked 10 Things My Mom Taught Me as today’s Ten on Tuesday topic. Since we’re coming up to Mother’s Day, it’s perfect timing and since my mom has taught me approximately 10 million great things, this should be an easy one.
- What unconditional love is. No one loves as hard as my mom, and she is always an amazing support for me.
- That although I am the center of her world, I am not the center of the whole world. She told me that while she would drop everything and do anything for me, that I should not expect that from anyone else. This is something I think a lot of people could benefit from learning. The world doesn’t owe me or you or anyone anything – it’s our responsibility to put good stuff out there. Which leads to…
- Do the best that you can, and be the best person you can be. My mom has always told me that it is my responsibility to do the best I can in everything. That at the end of the day, you can only be judged on the fact that you gave everything your best shot – from work, to school, to helping others, to being kind.
- That we have so much, and it is our responsibility to give to others with less. My mom is a powerhouse when it comes to this. I grew up in a very nice small town that preferred to ignore that there were many in the community in need. My mom worked at the school, and knew that wasn’t true. She single-handedly pulled together a food and gift drive of a proportion that would blow your mind, and was a one-woman show for 10 years. And she did hundreds of little things, like buying shoes for kids who came to school in shoes that were barely in one piece, and providing other necessities as she saw the need, all through the year. This made an incredible impression on me at a very young age. I have never forgotten the relief on people’s faces as they realized that they could have a real Christmas with a turkey and gifts. It made me want to be a better person. I am doing my own little contributions here or there, but I hope to one day find a way to make an impact like my mom.
- That you can completely fill something you make with love. I have so many things that my mom made me that I completely cherish. There are traditional things like blankets and holiday decorations, and also things like holiday dinners for the family (totally filled with love) and even down to a little lunch sandwich and a thermos of coffee.
- How to knit. Since I grew up to start a knitting blog, this was obviously influential. My mom taught me all kinds of crafts (and I still dabble in many of them), but knitting is what really stuck with me. I still remember the Christmas after she taught me that she bought me a full complement of tools – needles, stitch markers, row counters – and it was truly my gateway to never stopping. Here we are, somewhere in the ballpark of 12 years later, and I can’t imagine my life without knitting and the joy and friends it has brought me.
- One quality piece is worth more than a 100 cheap things. You generally get what you pay for, and it’ll be worth your time and money to own that one pair of really great, comfortable, well-fitting shoes, than to buy 10 pairs of cheap ones that hurt your feet and fall apart after two wears. And this applies to pretty much everything (even yarn!). Sure, it means I spend more on fewer things, but I can tell you I hardly ever replace anything. I’m still wearing clothes and shoes from college, and you can’t tell. Because I’m buying nice stuff, she also taught me…
- To be meticulous. I am nearly religious in my pursuit to keep my possessions in just-bought quality – from clothes to furniture to books to my baby dolls. You should always take care of your things. You’re lucky to have them, and if you take care of them, they’ll last a lot longer. And this also includes a general attention to detail, because that’s important in life.
- And let go of some of the other things. While it’s important to be meticulous about some things, it’s OK to let go of others. Just because you can make something, doesn’t mean you should do that instead of buying it (sometimes your time and hassle and are not worth it! really!). And though you do your best to keep your things nice, sometimes there are accidents, and it’s important to keep perspective. We’re all healthy and happy, and we’re OK, even if I did ruin my favorite chair within an hour of bringing home my newborn (may still be having some trouble letting that one go). But I’m learning, really.
- How to be a mom. Most importantly, my mom has been an amazing example for me of how to be a mom to BK. While I don’t think I will ever be able to live up to her incredible example, I am certainly trying. I try every day to be to BK what my mom is to me.
Love you, mom. x