#SomethingOnSunday October 15

So the amazing Jenny (of Reading the End) has this going for Sundays:

The only guidelines are that you write about something that kept you on your feet that week, whether that’s a person that inspired you, an action you took that you’re proud of, a book or movie or TV show that nourished your heart, a self-care strategy that worked for you, a goofy event or moment that brought you joy. Whatever it is, every Sunday, I want you to tell me something that matters to you.

And this week, it’s easy because my parents arrived from Singapore yesterday! On my Dad’s 70th birthday!

We didn’t really make proper plans for yesterday as I figured, jet lag, long flight equals a birthday dinner at home. I had ribeyes and all the fixings for a steak dinner ready. But then they were all raving and ready to go out for a nice dinner. Luckily we managed to secure a last-minute table at a little French(ish) local restaurant which has been around for ages, but that we had never been to.

And it was lovely. It’s never easy to go out for dinner with young kids and while my kids are relatively well-behaved, they do get fidgety especially if the food takes a while.

Luckily no drama ensued, we had a nice meal, and the restaurant provided a cute special birthday dessert.

Earlier in the afternoon, we already had some cake though! I made a (very rich) chocolate stout cake. I really suck at decorating cakes though…

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It’s Monday and I’m reading about octopuses

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Just a pizza and doughnuts kind of Sunday.

Currently…

Reading:

 

Watching:

Star Wars Episode IV with the kids – we weren’t sure when was a good time to introduce the show to the kids. But you know what they’ve been reading the books and they kinda know a lot of the story already, so guess it’s as good a time as ever. They loved it of course!

 

Listening:

The Soul of an Octopus – Sy Montgomery

I don’t think I had any particular fondness for octopuses before this but oh wow, this book has changed my mind about these amazing creatures!

Eating:

Maple bacon doughnut.

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

 

Last week:

I read:

this is one of the extremely rare weeks where I don’t think I’ve finished reading anything!

I posted:

#RIPXII The Bear and the Nightingale

#SomethingOnSunday (October 8)

#SomethingOnSunday (October 8)

So the amazing Jenny (of Reading the End) has this going for Sundays:

The only guidelines are that you write about something that kept you on your feet that week, whether that’s a person that inspired you, an action you took that you’re proud of, a book or movie or TV show that nourished your heart, a self-care strategy that worked for you, a goofy event or moment that brought you joy. Whatever it is, every Sunday, I want you to tell me something that matters to you.

1. We took the kids to their first ever movie at a cinema! My boys are 4 and 6 and my older boy is the kind of kid who gets so emotionally vested in movies that he sobbed so hard when watching The Good Dinosaur, and for a while would just have to leave the room when watching some other movies. So we weren’t sure how he would do but luckily the Ninjago movie was just perfect for both of them. And they had a blast. Oh and those comfy seats that recline also helped!

2. I got my first Meyer lemons of the season! We planted this dwarf Meyer lemon tree last year and there were a few fruits but this season I’m hoping to get more!

3. The first grader’s school had a MidAutumn Festival (half of the classes at the school belong to a Mandarin immersion programme) and he had been working hard for a month, learning to sing two songs in Mandarin, and while I had attended every rehearsal, it was great to finally have everyone else see their performance!

4. Also, mooncakes, a beautiful harvest moon, and a walk around our estate with lanterns (an Angry Bird and a Percy) made for a pretty good week.

How was yours?

#RIPXII The Bear and the Nightingale

 

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From the very start of the book, I am hooked.

And that is not a usual thing. I am a reader of many books. By that I mean that I tend to read several things at once. So it can sometimes take me several tries to get into a book.

(You might just wonder then, why not just concentrate and read that one book, finish it, and then move on to another? Well, that’s just not the way I work. I just like multiple books going on!)

First of all, I love that it’s a fairytale. And more than that, that it’s a snowy, wintry kind of read. I have lived most of my life near the equator – where the only seasons are hot and dry or hot and rainy. And I now live in Northern California where winters are, at the most, rainy, although we could easily drive a few hours to find snow. So I’ve never really been in that kind of dense and intense winters that  the north of Russia must have.

Vasilisa is the youngest child of a wealthy lord of a northern Russian village. She can see  the spirits of the house, forest, river, the spirits that protect them from evil, like the domovoi, which lives in the oven. Her new stepmother can see these spirits too, but she calls them demons and seeks refuge in the church. She soon forbids the household from honoring these spirits with offerings. But Vasya tries to continue this ritual when she can, fearing that something bad is about to happen.

“The domovoi was small and squat and brown. He had a long beard and brilliant eyes. At night he crept out of the oven to wipe the plates and scour away the soot. He used to do mending, too, when people left it out, but Anna would shriek if she saw a stray shirt, and few of the servants would risk her anger. Before Vasya’s stepmother arrived, they had left offerings for him: a bowl of milk or a bit of bread. But Anna shrieked then, too. Dunya and the serving-maids had begun hiding their offerings in odd corners where Anna rarely came.”

Things get even more interesting when Father Konstantin is sent to their village and the villagers grow more fearful, and so is bold and brave Vasya.

“No, Vasya was frightened of her own people. They did not joke on the way to church anymore; they listened to Father Konstantin in heavy, hungry silence. And even when they were not in church, the people made excuses to visit his room.”

Something is waking, something evil. And without these spirits’ protection, crops start failing, the creatures of the forest roam closer, danger lurks.

The Bear and the Nightingale was an absolute charmer of a book. I loved all the Russian folklore throughout and the rural setting. Perhaps the only part that didn’t sit too well with me was the last act, which seemed a bit rushed.

 

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This is my fourth read for RIP XII

It’s Monday and I’m trying to get back into blogging

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date
Another Saturday hike.
We took a different trail this time, walking along a creek but the trail also led us past the backyards of many houses. It was a suburban hike!
Sunday farmers market
We always pick up a flat of strawberries (i.e. 6 of these small boxes) so I never bothered to look at the price of the other packs. 3 boxed for $8 but 1 flat (6 boxes) goes for $10! Yep we buy strawberries every single Sunday and they barely last the week as my kids devour them!

Currently…

Reading:

 

 

Watching:

The Lego movie with the kids

 

Listening:

The Soul of an Octopus- Sy Montgomery

 

Eating:

For lunch, chicken porridge

Dinner was Pakistani food.

 

 

Drinking:

Grapefruit green tea by Lupicia – it has grapefruit peel in it and is quite refreshing

 

 

 

Last week:

I read:

Heroine Complex – Sarah Kuhn
City of Small Blessings – Simon Tay
A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden

I posted:

#SomethingForSunday

#ripxii The Unquiet Dead

#SomethingOnSunday

So the amazing Jenny (of Reading the End) just started this thing on Sundays:

The only guidelines are that you write about something that kept you on your feet that week, whether that’s a person that inspired you, an action you took that you’re proud of, a book or movie or TV show that nourished your heart, a self-care strategy that worked for you, a goofy event or moment that brought you joy. Whatever it is, every Sunday, I want you to tell me something that matters to you.

So here’s my something…

My kids have had tennis lessons for a couple of weeks now, but we recently switched from a Sunday class to a Tuesday afternoon class, which the main coach himself is teaching. And they just had so much more fun in this class. There’s another 4yo in this class too and my 4yo had a blast with that kid. It was just the cutest thing to see two little boys (who sometimes look smaller than the rackets they’re holding) trying to hit forehands and backhands.

Ok maybe that’s not really MY something, but my kids’ something.

Well, I was also glad to be working on this scarf and reading this excellent book!

#ripxii The Unquiet Dead

Goodness, I was not expecting this. Not at all.

What was I expecting? A crime/police procedural/mystery type book.

And yes, this was that. But it was also a lot more.

What is truly amazing is that this is a debut.

Inspector Esa Khattak is the head of Canada’s CPS, Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases, but he’s a former homicide detective and counterintelligence agent. The story opens with him at prayer, which is interrupted by a phone call requesting him to investigate a suspicious death.

It seems simple at first – a man has fallen off a cliff.

But it turns out that this man Christopher Drayton may instead be Drazen Krstic, a war criminal behind the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 in which thousands of Muslims were slaughtered. So of course they have to figure out – was he pushed? Was he murdered? And did it have something to do with his war crimes or does it have something to do with his money-grubbing fiancée?

Rachel Getty,  “a strong, square-built, hockey-playing female police officer”, is Khattak’s partner. I like how they are so very different yet are still kindred spirits of sorts, with family problems and other personal issues that plague them.

Khan intersperses all this with testimonies from war crime trials. And she leaves us guessing until the last pages. A truly impressive debut!

Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about.

Bibliography:

Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak series

  • The Unquiet Dead (2015)
  • The Language of Secrets (2016)
  • Among the Ruins (2017)
  • A Death in Sarajevo (2017) (novella)
  • A Dangerous Crossing (forthcoming 2018)Khorasan Archives series
  • The Bloodprint (2017)

This is my third read for RIPXII