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

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And so with Evie, as she stood talking to the cook. Thought she could take up her mother’s work inside the house, just as the men could take it up without, she felt that something unique had fallen out of her life. Their grief, though less poignant than their father’s, grew from deeper roots, for a wife may be replaced: a mother never.

— E. M. Forster, Howards End

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Saturday morning was breakfast at the café with the Red Bean: a proper capp for me, Darjeeling for her, peach scones. Then Mister and I headed out to do some birthday shopping for the Poulette and enjoy a late lunch. This heading out without kids in tow is a new thing for us, one we’re settling into quite nicely. It feels new and different, a bit shiny. A reminder that these days are iridescent, changing colour as my viewpoint shifts or the light passes just so. And so I do what I do: eyes wide, observing, making notes, doling out hugs and kisses as frequently as possible, and giving thanks.

PS: There is a new course offering up over here, one near and dear to my heart. I would love for you to join us!

Weekending with Karen and weaving words along with everyone else inspired by August prompt-a-day. join us and link up over here, on the ALM Writes fb page, or on twitter or instagram using the hashtag #writealm.


  • What a delish breakfast with wonderful company.
    Now that the kids will be in school maybe there will be a little time in the day for me for this course- jumping over there now.
    Happy Sunday.ReplyCancel

  • A lovely Saturday : )) So nice to have time with your Mister! Me and mine celebrated our 18th anniversary this weekend with a night out alone and then one with our wonderful boy and friends : )) Looking forward to the course very much!!ReplyCancel

  • Sweet catching up here, friend.
    I hope all is well in your world and your pregnancy is going easy!

  • My heart took a little leap when I linked to your lovely offering of Wholly Ordinary. Just enrolled and couldn’t be more excited Amanda! This school year marks a major turning point in my life…in the way of having 3 whole hours all to myself early in the day (my favorite and most inspired part of the day). With my littlest beginning 1/2 day kindergarten, I am welcoming this time as a gift to myself…I’m just a little thrilled, just a little ;o). Your offering of this journaling class will provide me with the perfect jump start to diving deeper in my journaling and writing, thank you again for sharing your amazing gift of writing with others.

    ~ AprilReplyCancel

  • Mike and I were both commenting on the shift of light in our home this morning, gives me a ray of hope that there really will be cooler temperatures in my future because right now it is unbearable!
    Enjoy a beautiful day with your birthday girl and her wonderful siblings!ReplyCancel

  • I love how you can leave the kids and be out, that newfound freedom :) happy birthday to your girl! I love your weekend and am happy you shared it with us. I’m so excited about my course!ReplyCancel