the habit of being_dixie 10.3.14


The times they are busy. I found this sweet little kitten almost two weeks ago. She was on death’s door, weighed right at 2lbs, malnourished, dehydrated. A trip to the vet for fluids and some syringe feeding and now, she’s finally beginning to eat on her own. She loves being with us, around us, on us, in our laps and truth be told, she’s been a great distraction from the baby waiting game. She has won us over, even Mister. I came home from errands the other day to find him napping on the sofa, cat curled into the crook of this arm. She ate on her own for the first time the other night and the Red Bean and I (her two primary caregivers) actually did a victory dance. I think this means she’s staying and well, I’m glad because she is the sweetest little thing. We’ve named her Dixie Belle but call her Dixie. So friends, meet sweet Dixie.

The Red Bean celebrated her 13th birthday and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact I have a teenager. Especially when you consider how sweet and helpful she is and the infamous moodiness of the teen years has yet to rear its ugly head (not to jinx myself but fingers are duly crossed). In fact the only sign that we have a teen in the house is her ability to sleep well into the morning (I might be slightly envious).


the habit of being_reading 10.6.14


We (being the press, Anchor & Plume) released our second book last week, finished Issue 8 and sent it to the printer. And then I tucked into my spot on the sofa and buried my nose in reading something not work related. Escapism at its best.

The first book I read was I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl. Not sure how I ended up with this book in my stack of books to read but wow, what a devastating and miraculous story and a brutally honest look at the personal flaws that drove her to make the decisions she did. I then picked up Crossing to Safety and utterly lost myself in it. Such an incredibly crafted story about friendship and marriage. It gave me renewed hope that we may one day find a couple with whom we could be friends in the deep and meaningful ways the two couples in this story were. The story is wry and real, sympathetic, yet optimistic and full of grace.

The waiting on baby continues…


  • Ah, but any waiting would be time well spent reading ‘Crossing to Safety’ — it’s still definitely my best read of the year (and it’s been a good reading year!). Enjoy these days of anticipation — looking back that waiting always seems to be a magical time, even if it has its frustrations at the time! (And I had to do a lot of waiting for my little ones to decide to appear…)ReplyCancel

  • I never encountered the terrible teenage years in my home, just the sleeping that you mentioned and the never ending need to eat that came with each one of them. Actually I found the teenage years to be quite enjoyable, especially after the breastfeeding and diaper stage in which I never was able to rest.

    Happy 13 to your dear girl. My oldest and my youngest are 14 years apart, but to this day they are still close, something I wish for your babies.ReplyCancel

  • that waiting game is hard from what I understand. God bless and protect you!!!

    The second book sounds esp. intriguing.

    Many years to your 13 year old! I remember my 13th birthday… we were not as health conscious back then and went to a brand new McDonalds and I remember we found pennies in the parking lot…ReplyCancel

  • So nice to hear from you. This little story of your sweet kitten touched my heart, I just love stories like this. Does this make 2 kitties now? If I remember, another was rescued earlier this year?

    I hope this week brings your bundle of joy…the waiting is always the hardest but the patience so worth the wait. Holding your newborn is the greatest gift in the world. All those snuggle moments are priceless…

    Take care Amanda. I’ll be thinking of you.ReplyCancel

  • Bless your heart, Sarah. We have an abandoned cat also. Not sure how people can just leave an animal to fend for itself/die.

    Welcome to your forever home Dixie Belle. You sure are a precious little one!ReplyCancel

  • How wonderful that you saved the cat. Congratulations on the second book publishing as well. I’m so happy for you that Anchor and Plume has done so well!ReplyCancel

  • You are a woman of many talents, Amanda. Way to inspire us all!ReplyCancel

  • congrats on your addition of Dixie, she is lucky and is loved.

    Now onto your teenager….believe me when I say the stories are not all true about teenagers. Enjoy your teen years they are wonderful, exciting and fun.

    No midnight breast feedings, no shoe tying, no teeth brushing, no guessing when they need to go to the doctor… you can see I loved the teen years.

    have fun waiting for that sweet baby!!ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Sweet kitty! Looks like she’s found the perfect home. Enjoy your babymoon! :-) Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

    Happy Birthday, Red Bean!ReplyCancel

  • Our teen turns 14 next week. I remember 14! I really think that 11-13 are the really tricky years, but maybe that’s because they were tricky for me…your kitty is precious. So glad you rescued him. I have read Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and loved it. Checked out Crossing to Safety from the library….ReplyCancel

the habit of being_banville


“Happiness was different in childhood. It was so much then a matter simply of accumulation, of taking things – new experiences, new emotions – and applying them like so many polished tiles to what would someday be the marvellously finished pavilion of the self.”
—John Banville, The Sea


I finished reading The Sea early this morning while the Nacho was in therapy and I’m sitting here in the caré this afternoon still thinking about it, still thinking about memory and its pull on us. Banville offers up a character study of Max, a middle-aged Irish man, and as Max probes his recollections, he reveals his most intimate feelings. Full of beautiful, finely wrought language, The Sea is a book that merits your attention with a slow and thorough reading.

I’ve amassed a rather tantalizing stack of books in anticipation of my upcoming babymoon. Dutiful reader that I am, I shall report back. In the meantime, happy reading!



  • and another one to add to my never ending list of reading. Dear sweet amanda, thank you for the ideas! babymoon, how quickly that delivery date has approached (for me).ReplyCancel

  • Katie

    May you have a wonderful babymoon soaking up all the sweet moments! Many blessings to you!ReplyCancel

  • The Sea is in my stack to be read, now if I would just quit adding to it!

    Babymooning soon? My heart is filled with joy for you and your family Amanda.ReplyCancel

  • i thought of you this morning and was wondering how you were doing and if baby had made an appearance yet. i was also wondering what you’ve been reading.

    i finished This is Where I Leave You a few weeks ago, still thinking about it. i’m currently reading The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard, i’m slow going, but i am enjoying it.ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Love your babymoon term. :-) Enjoy the last few days and soaking it all in. I’m currently reading (thanks to you) Orphan Train.ReplyCancel

  • I was browsing for a new read last night, and I thought I should ask you. Of course I have two books in progress and a stack by my bed. I just wasn’t feeling in the mood for thoseReplyCancel

the habit of being_reading


I started reading She Rises yesterday (or maybe day before yesterday) and it was work. I can’t remember how this book initially popped onto my radar but apparently it did (I’m guessing it had a lot to do with the cover) but frankly, it isn’t working for me. I made the executive decision to skip ahead to the next book in the stack of books waiting to be read, Banville’s The Sea. I cracked the cover while waiting in line at the café this morning and was immediately drawn in. Really. The writing is exquisite and the poor barista had called my name several times before another customer in the queue gently tapped me on my shoulder and drew me back to the present moment.

I’ll be sure to check back in once I’m finished and let you know what I think. Until then, what are you reading?



  • I love books you can fall into so I hope it continues Amanda.

    I am still reading What Alice Forgot….the reviews are correct, it’s too long! It started out quite funny, but it took a bitter and catty turn which has continued on and on, sigh, I just want it finished.ReplyCancel

  • i finished Neil Gaiman’s Interworld this week (actually, he came up with the story, someone else wrote it) and it was not my favorite.

    but! i also finished This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Topper, and i loved it. so much. i handed it over to my husband for him to read and he’s enjoying it too.ReplyCancel

  • I’m in the middle of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland & wondering why I didn’t read anything of hers after The Interpreter of Maladies — so good! And a cafe & a good book sounds such a winning combination in these heavy with baby final weeks.ReplyCancel

  • I am very picky with what I read! Right now I am reading The Witches Craft, about the old ways (I’m Pagan), and the BB Los Angeles Murders, part of the Death Note series, which I adore.ReplyCancel

  • It’s okay to put a book away if it’s not working for you : ) Life is too short to read books that don’t resonate with your soul!

    I’m currently reading “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway and “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      lyssa, what an interesting combination! happy reading :)ReplyCancel

  • I can just picture you standing in line immersed in those first few pages, completely unaware of your name being called, that has happened to me! A great moment when you find a novel that captures your attention from the start.

    I’m currently slogging my way through The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Halfway into this and I’m still waiting for something to happen. Maybe I’m expecting too much, I don’t know…we’ll see.

    Thinking of you and the soon to be arrival of the wee bean, hope you are feeling great! Hearing that you have your dear friend around to help and give you space to rest brought a smile to my face. You certainly deserve to be pampered :o)

    P.S. Thank you for the offering of Wholly Ordinary. I’m enjoying this course so much!ReplyCancel

  • ooph, that book! I had to pick it up (She Rises) when I saw it at the library sometime last year because the cover just calls to you it’s so gorgeous. but the reading part…. yeah, that was a bit iffy. I did read it though- I enjoyed parts, was pretty ‘eh’ about most of it, and was left kinda thinking ‘huh’. all in all, not my favorite book of last year, for sure. I recently finished Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen and am halfway into Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Next up is The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty. cheers~ReplyCancel

    • admin

      amanda, i hope you love the optimist’s daughter — classic eudora and one of my faves!ReplyCancel

  • Guns, Germs and Steel – not exactly light reading :) but very interesting. I’m just about finished with it.ReplyCancel

  • Cutting for Stone, which is excellent!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      glad to hear it, danielle! it popped onto my radar a few months back but i was unsure…i’ll add it to the list!ReplyCancel

  • Almost finished with Light Years, which I first saw here, and loving it.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      so happy to hear it, lisa! it’s definitely a long-standing favorite of mine.ReplyCancel

  • I was thinking I had become a finicky reader too. I keep starting books and either stopping after a couple of chapters or forcing myself to finish. If I keep at it I will have to stop buying my books and only rely on the library.
    I do love all the books you recommended so keep them comingReplyCancel

  • I have become a finicky reader as well. I go through quite a few books before I can find one that I am willing to spend my time on. I am currently reading Dante’s The Inferno and Firebird by Susanna Kearsely.ReplyCancel

  • Ha! I felt the same way about She Rises! I was drawn to it by the cover. I feel it had such potential, but there was just something missing in its execution. Maybe it would have been better if it focused on just one story.ReplyCancel

  • I love posts about favorite books; thanks for this! Just loved Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and of course inhaled the Outlander series by Diana Galbaldon (beloved and found on a list like this). Dreaming of cozy hours spent reading by a fire (or under a soft blanket); delicious Enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • I just completed Me Before You. I started out not liking it, initially finding the main character to be subpar in regards to having an interesting personality, but as the story continued I was drawn in to the unconventional Pygmalion like story. Not a bad read!ReplyCancel

Lest you think I no longer knit, I do. I seem to have dropped the ball on photographing and posting about the hand knits though so today, a summer knitting wrap-up.


the habit of being_child


Child’s First Sock in Shell Pattern. Not the first time I’ve knit this but I love the pattern so what’s one more pair?

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Sunday Sweater for the Wee Lass in a pale pink.

the habit of being_puerperium


Puerperium. This might be for the upcoming baby. Will have to wait and see if the wee bean is a girl or boy. If not, a friend is having a girl a month after my due date.

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Another pair of longies.

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And I’m rippling for the baby. Also, rippling? Totally addictive.

  • Love them all!!!
    I’ve never made a ripple afghan. I think that might have to be one of my winter projects this year! :-)ReplyCancel

  • I LOVE that you will have a surprise baby. Boy or girl….I wonder! I knew you were knitting. Love the projects and I’m glad you snapped some photos :)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      I’m a big fan of surprises especially with babies! We did let the kids have a say this go around as to whether or not they wanted to know the gender before the baby’s arrival and they voted to be surprised :)ReplyCancel

  • Each of these is truly so beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Such lovely makes ReplyCancel

  • The puerperium is one of the knits that make me ache for a baby I live it. The ripple is totally addictive I finished mine a couple of months ago and I already have yarn for the next oneReplyCancel

  • What fun! I love the sweater. :)ReplyCancel

  • Such beautiful pieces! Love your yarn choices. I’ve always heard knitting is calming, but I can only knit dish clothes and that stresses me out! I’m a be crocheter.ReplyCancel

  • You have been busy. I was wondering if you knew boy or girl so now I know it’s a surprise, the way it should be in my opinion.
    Hope you have cool air blowing on you.ReplyCancel

  • Simply beautiful work. I especially love those two sweaters. Colours and all! :)ReplyCancel

  • Lovely projects. Those ripples are wonderful – but I won’t be adding crochet to my crafting right now.ReplyCancel

  • lovely knitting! it’s so calming, hey? your knits are very lovely and neat!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie

    I love ever single piece. The longies are beyond precious.ReplyCancel

  • Bambi Beachbord

    Oh I adore those kitty buttons!!! It makes the pink of the sweater so much sweeter.ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful happy for you Amanda :)ReplyCancel

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I woke up Saturday morning to an empty house, a box of donuts on the counter. Kids gone, car gone, bank card gone. A stack of French novels and magazines piled on the sofa. And I exhaled and gave thanks for one of the dearest people in my life, a friend from grad school, now on sabbatical and here because I asked. I opted for a second cup of cold brew, extra cream, and a long, hot shower without interruption.

Mister is traveling this week, maybe into next. I’m rolling right through week 36 of this pregnancy and rapidly approaching week 37 so I was a bit nervous to say the least. My friend and I had talked about getting together, working over her manuscript together, face to face. So during our weekly Skype chat I said, Hey! Care to cross the Atlantic and come hang out? And then twenty minutes later I had bought her a plane ticket and three days later, I gave a lecture to an English class then waddled to my car and headed to New Orleans to pick her up. And immediately, she hugged me and this baby, cooing in Creole in my ear and then to the wee babe, my shoulders came down from around my ears and I was filled with such a sense of relief.

My kids are thoroughly enchanted by the fact we just sit and converse in French and picked up exactly where we left off where we saw each last (2? 3? years ago). They love her because she brings a fresh selection of books and goodies from France and photos of us in our heyday—there we are in the Maghreb, in our rather derelict flat in Lyons, on a train in India, the two of us at a table on a café patio with my dad and a lizard in Lagos, on a beach in Martinique, and at her family home in Haïti, bleary-eyed in a pub in Ireland. And it feels good to remember all these adventures, the life I knew before this one, to remember how it felt to take off on a whim with little more than a backpack.

And so this week will be finishing the layout for Kindred’s eighth issue (Eight!), finishing up work for clients, and then a whole lot of nothing, and I’m looking forward to it. The little people are hoping to brush up on their Creole and are excited at the prospect of having company (the good kind they say and I nod knowingly). Brave soul that she is made it through Whole Foods and Traders Joes today (on a game day no less) with my five littles in tow and they have meals planned and movies to watch and well, for once mama is going to just sit back and smile and say, Yes, yes whatever, just enjoy while I sit back and watch the best and most loved people in my life come together to bring back old memories and create new.

  • Wow, what a history the two of you have, and how wonderful she is here for you now. It sounds to me like you and your kiddos are in very good, very loving hands. Enjoy this time, and all the best in these last few weeks.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Kim, definitely lots of history and such a good one, too!ReplyCancel

  • oh what a joy and comfort for you. I am so so so SO glad. May God be near to you as you are in the last weeks before baby, etc.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Bonin

    I’ve loved you for what has turned into years now. But this morning, love grows. You truly are something special my pal.
    Enjoy this magical time.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Oh Stephanie, I’m all verklempt. Too much, too much goodness coming my way lately! xoReplyCancel

  • perfect, just perfect.

  • This sounds simply perfect! What a special friendship! Breathe in every minute of this wonderful time. And all the best for the remaining weeks of your pregnancy!ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Echoing everything in comments above me. Enjoy the last few weeks and your dear friend’s visit. She sounds like a gem! Hugs to you.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica

    And I breathed for you a long sigh of relief. You are in my prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Juliann

    How lovely to have a friend you can ask. Enjoy this time. I am excited to receive my first order of Kindred magazines.ReplyCancel

  • won’t be long now ;) Friendships like yours are a treasure and it’s nice knowing you have someone to be with while you are bursting with impending baby (and happiness!).ReplyCancel

  • Issue 8! Congrats! Hard to believe.

    Ah, I think we need to hear more about your travel days! So wonderful to have a friend like that. Mine is in Barcelona right now. So easy to pick up right where we left off and such wonderful travels and memories we share. And especially foodie adventures! Enjoy your time together and the work break before baby arrives!ReplyCancel

  • I can feel your happiness seeping out of my iPad…so wonderful. There is real warmth in this post, tangible and it’s how I feel about my close friends and good times with them. Enjoy xReplyCancel

  • Everyone needs a friend like that, I’m glad you have one Amanda.
    Enjoy all the memory making.ReplyCancel

  • lovely to be able to pick up exactly where you left off.ReplyCancel