Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What Do They Do?

I get this question a lot.  I hate to pigeonhole my kids.  Each one of them has diverse interests and participates in diverse activities.  On the other hand, when I think about it, I do know what they do at least for now.  For who knows, what they might be doing a year from now or five or ten.  People change and grow and just get sick of one thing and move onto something else.  It is the way it usually is and is good!

What does Antonio do?  We invents things and makes things and improves things.  I suppose he is an engineer.  He also programs and plays video games.  He excels at pixel art which he uses while developing video games.  He also studies and learns things in pursuit of knowing everything.  (He takes after his momma there.)  He freeruns.  His hobbies are drawing, writing fanfic, reading manga, and hiking/tree-climbing/nature study.

Esme is first and foremost a writer and drawer.  That is where most of her time and energy is invested.  She also socializes regularly online not only IM'ing with her four best friends, (they call themselves the Elite Five,) but also participating in diverse forums that are of interest to her as an active member and in some cases moderator.  Her hobbies are rollerblading, reading, doll collecting, and sculpting.

JoAnn spends a lot of time reading and cooking.  She reads more books, both novels and nonfiction, than anyone else in the house.  She loves discussing what she reads and is the one to go to if you want a book suggestion.  All of her reading has led to many interests, the strongest being all things Abraham Lincoln and all things India.  She loves to cook and make complicated recipes from scratch.  She is a loner in this (liking the solitude of being the only one in the kitchen), and I am happy to have her on board as family cook because cooking is not my favorite activity.  JoAnn's hobbies are drawing, graphic design, and doll collecting.  She also socializes online but not to the extent that Esme does.

Lia is a social butterfly.  When she isn't playing with her siblings, she is actively involved with Diana or myself or over at one of her many friends houses.  Lia loves to sing and dance.  She also takes photos and videos.  Her hobbies are science (fun experiments and anatomy), reading, and drawing. 

Friday, May 8, 2009


I just finished reading Inkspell by Cornelia Funke, the second book in the Inkworld Trilogy.  This book was very similar to the first, Inkheart.  It was rather slow and didactic, and not as riveting as the story concept leads me to believe it should be.  I found myself picking up the book more often, eager to read, than with the first, but I think this was more because I had more of myself invested in the story than because the book was well written.

Fantasy stories can be very compelling, and once I have started a series, it is hard to stop reading prematurely unless the books become truly horrible.  One improvement in this book was that the author did a better job of switching between view points to increase interest and move the plot along.  There were a few times when one point of view was neglected for too long, and it was hard for me to pick it up where it had left off, but for the most part, I enjoyed that aspect of the story.  I also liked the very short chapters.  I am a fan of very short chapters because I can more easily read the book in short spurts of free time without having to stop at illogical points.

I am reluctant to write about the plot of a book in a series unless it is the first book because it always seems like a spoiler to me.  In general, the Inkworld series tells the story of Meggie, the daughter of a bookbinder and her relationship to the book Inkheart, a novel that takes place in a world full of fairies, princes, and fire elves, as well as truly evil characters.  One sore point for me was that there were several times in Inkspell when Meggie acted out of character.  I tried to stretch my thoughts of her character to include all of her actions, but it just didn't mesh.

Unlike Inkheart, Inkspell, is not self-contained.  I am eager to check out the book Inkdeath just so I can see how everything turns out!  I recommend these books to fantasy lovers who don't mind a slow pace.  The short chapters might make them good read alouds particularly for the five to ten year old set who might want more adventure and complexity in their stories, but might not be ready to read more complex stories for themselves. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Reviews

Diana has been encouraging me to post my book reviews here, both new ones that I write and previous ones too.  I have been debating doing that or opening a new blog to do that.  I have decided that I will try doing it here and see how it feels.

So, look forward to book reviews from Faerie Gardens in the near future!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Be Careful!

I recently realized that everytime I hear the phrase "be careful", I both get extremely anxious and a little be upset.  The anxious is because I am always as careful as possible.  It seems I have spent my whole life being careful to the exclusion of feeling free and myself a lot of the time.  The upset is because if I am being as careful as I can be and then something still goes wrong, it is obviously just because I am flawed.  Also, if a loved one is saying it, I think that they don't really know me.  They don't understand just *how* careful I am being all of the time.

In other words, I am coming to see that in many situations, the seemingly harmless and even lovingly meant phrase "be careful" can be a stepping stone to perfectionism and pathological anxiety.  A few days after that realization, I heard myself telling my daughter JoAnn, who struggles with perfectionism and anxiety, to be careful.  She was being careful!  JoAnn is always careful!  She does her best.  And as I said the phrase, I saw a cringe most across her features.  She was feeling the same way I feel!

In the future, I am going to be more careful with my use of that phrase.