Emily M. DeArdo

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Thoughts on The Great American Read

booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Let's talk books!

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Summer is a great time to talk about books, but this year it's especially so, because PBS has come out with the The Great American Read. It's an eight-part series on PBS that talks about the "100 best" American books--but this is where it gets confusing, because it's not 100 books by Americans, and it's not the most influential books--it's 100 "best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey)." 

So, here are my thoughts: 

  • I've read 54 of them. I've linked to the list above. Obviously, I am thrilled Pride and Prejudice is here--go America!--but I'm shocked that there's no Shakespeare. There aren't any plays at all. BOOOOO. 
     
  • Some of the books I love, some are meh, some I hate, and some I would never, ever read (DaVinci Code, looking at you). If you're curious, my love list is: Anne of Green Gables, The Giver, P&P , Book Thief, Narnia, Rebecca, Charlotte's Web, Grapes of Wrath, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, 80% of Jane Eyre, Little Women, Memoirs of a Geisha, Outlander, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sun Also Rises, and Wuthering Heights.
     
  • Books on the list I hate: 100 Years of Solitude, Moby-Dick, The Lovely Bones
     
  • Some of these are clearly "hot" books that people are currently reading or have been popular: Twilight, Ready, Player One, Fifty Shades of Grey. These are not books that will last, I'm willing to bet. 
     
  • I would like it very much if everyone would read 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale and then write papers about the two. And then realize that we do not live in the world of Handmaid's Tale. (Hulu, looking at you....)
     
  • There are books on this list that I need to read: Catch-22, War and Peace, Call of the Wild, and Crime and Punishment. (Well, I have to finish Crime and Punishment.) I gave up on Don Quioxte because the book itself is Quixotic. :-P
     
  • Conversely, books I will never touch with a 39 and a half foot pole: DaVinci Code, Fifty Shades, Left Behind --because it is vehemently anti-Catholic-- and The Shack.
     
  • No Henry James, Edith Wharton, or Nathaniel Hawthorne? I think The Scarlet Letter is MUCH better than Moby-Dick, personally.  

How about you? Which of these have you read? Do you have a favorite? Any you're meaning to read? 


Yarn Along No. 76

Barton Cottage Crafts, books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment

It's May, and that means--Yarn Along with Ginny!

So I've been finishing a commission for Barton Cottage Crafts, but for my own knitting, I'm working on the Skye Cowl from Quince and Co., with their Puffin yarn. (My ravelry page here) I'm using the sorbet colorway, because I wanted something fun. 

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Yes, my nails are terrible. Sorry. 

Above, the project is with the Magnolia Table cookbook (birthday gift), and I've been reading various things all month--the spring Bella Grace, which is a great magazine, Ann Voskamp's The Way of Abundance, and the fifth Outlander book, The Fiery Cross. So I'm all over the map. 

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And, Barton Cottage Crafts (my little knitting shop) is taking commissions! I do the basketweave scarves, shawls (basic ones), and plain garter stitch scarves. You get to pick the colors for anything you commission, obviously. Plain scarves are $30, basketweave's are $35, and shawls are $40. That price includes shipping!

I don't have a good picture of the "plain" scarf--bad me--but it's really lovely. I use Quince's osprey yarn, so it's very plush and squishy! 

If you'd like a commission, contact me and we'll get started! 

2018 Goals: March update and April goals!

goal setting, Barton Cottage Crafts, knitting, memoirEmily DeArdoComment
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So, if you're new to this, I use powersheets to set my goals. I love Powersheets! You can catch up on this year's series by going here

March was the longest month. It really was! But there was progress made in some areas!

Goal Number 1: 

Work through Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps for Financial Peace to cultivate good stewardship, gratitude, and contentment.

 

March goal: Finish baby step one--get an emergency fund in place. 

Status: ACHIEVED! Guys, I am so proud of this. And it was so enjoyable to know that, when I was having computer issues earlier this month, I could go to the store and know that if it needed repairs, I could pay for them! This fund also allowed me to replace part of my Bionic Ear without freaking out. 

April goal: Start baby step 2--also known as the Debt Snowball. This is where you list all debts, smallest to largest, and start to pay them off, by moving as much money as you can toward to the smallest debt. Once that's paid off, that money + the minimum payment for the second debt goes to the next debt....you see how this works? I will have the first part of the snowball done by this fall. Yay!

 

Goal Number 2: 

Find an agent for my manuscript

March goal: At least one two-hour block of time outside the house working on my proposal. It doesn't have to be finished. But I have to dedicate at least two hours to drafting one. 

Status: yeah...no. AGAIN!

April goal: GET IT DONE. And I've already started! I've written out the basics of a proposal and now I just have to tweak/re-write the sample chapters. I am ON IT. 

Goal Number 3:

To deepen and strengthen my relationship with God, because He is the center and the well-spring.

March goals: Weekday Mass once a week, confession once a month, holy hour, daily vespers (evening prayer).

Status: Everything but that weekday Mass--because every time I tried to go, there was no place to park. I'm not kidding. So I tried, God! But I did get in a holy hour and daily vespers. Confession, no go either...I wanted to go wen I went to Mass. Face to face confession is offered at my parish on Fridays, which was the day I wanted to go to Mass as well. But no parking. Sigh. 

April goals: confession, holy hour, Mass once a week! 

Goal Number 4: 

Continue to lose weight and treat my body well so I can do everything else I want to do, and honor my body which God made. 

March goals: Daily yoga glo classes, weekly meal planning, go to bed by 10:00 (be IN bed, not necessarily asleep). 

Status: I did REALLY well here. I attended a yoga glo class almost every day! The meal planning was OK, as was the bed thing. 

April: Focus on healthy snacks, regular workouts--yoga glo strength courses, continue meal plan. 

Goal Number 5: 

Grow Barton Cottage Crafts, to help with baby steps (goal 1), but also to have a creative outlet and for enjoyment. 

March goals: Keep trucking. :) 

Progress: I finished my drachenfels shawl  and am almost done with a current commission. That means that BCC is open for new work! If you'd like a scarf or a shawl, please contact me and we'll talk! I can do them in solid or variegated colors. Shawls at $45, and scarves are $35, and shipping is included! 

April: finish new projects (I have two that I want to knit), get more commissions!

Goal Number 6: 

Have a beautiful, peaceful, welcoming home so I can appreciate what I have, encourage hospitality, and cultivate peace. 

March goals: ZERO OUT (with alarm at 9 pm); zone clean weekly; weekly surface clean; contentment challenge; finish Emily Ley's simplify challenge! 

StatusZeroing out just isn't me....I sort of tried but it doesn't work. I'd much rather come down in the morning and clean a bit. So that's what I switched to. I'm in zone cleaning weekly, and doing the weekly surface clean. 

The Contentment challenge is almost done!

The biggest thing I did this month: 

Sorry it's blurry!

Sorry it's blurry!

This was a terrible corner on my first floor. I hated it. I had no idea what to do with this empty space. 

So I was sick of looking at it, and went on an organizing spree. I dumped my old stereo that I NEVER use from my book case, and added a new shelf of "favorite books". That gave me more space in all my bookcases, yay!

Then I went on the IKEA website--motivated by a birthday coupon--and looked some something that would fit here. KALLAX would! KALLAX is pretty!

KALLAX IS HEAVY. I had to open the box and take the pieces in piece by piece. :) After an hour, I had entered in the realm of adulthood, because I had put together a piece of IKEA furniture. 

And now, behold!

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Isn't that much better

So, for April: My goal is to get another one of these units to go in my living room, to hold some other things that are currently being "stored" crappily. :-p I will also continue weekly cleaning (both detailed and surface). But I want stuff up off the floor. I'm tired of living like a college student! :-P 

Goal Number 7: 

To nurture my creativity so I can learn new things, inspire myself, stretch my mind, and feed my soul. 

March goals: Shawl--finish? Maybe? Continue Artist's Rule. 

Status: DONE, on both counts! Yay!!!!

April goals: Knit two new Quince and Co. projects, get new commissions, start Artist's Way reading. 

Progress is happening on the first project: 

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It's a really simple project, but I love this yarn. I'll talk more about these in the next yarn along. 

So, March had ups and downs. But it also had some great progress!