Category Archives: Books

Winding up Life in Baltimore

“The Trip” is less than two weeks away.  It seems a bit daunting.  I have one week of work and a few days of non work before we are off!  There is some freaking out on my part.  I have two projects to finish, and Steph is coming tonight to visit so I will not be inclined to put in long hours.  Not to mention all the stuff we are trying to get done before our trip.

Another thing I am trying to wrap up is some books I have started.  I just finished another Lloyd Alexander book The Gawgon and the Boy.

In this book Lloyd Alexander departs from his usual formula, sort of.  There is a boy, but no young heroine.  In a way there is a heroine…the Gawgon.   It is a story about a boy peri-depression era who get sick, and his dream comes true he gets out of school.  But then gets stuck with his great aunt as a tutor.  She is old, stuffy and someone learns to love learning.  Anyway I loved it.  It was imaginative, clever and I would read it again.  It follows “The Boy” through the crash of the stock market.


I always follow my own rules…

At least that is what C.S. Lewis’ Aslan says.  I just saw Voyage of the Dawn Treader and I am disapointed, but not dispondant.  I understand they felt like the plot had to be changed to make the movie epic.  I can deal with the seven swords.  What I don’t get is the invention of the stupid (insert expletive of choice) green mist.  Seriously?  LOST’s smoke monster was cast as the villian of Narnia?  I guess a quest is not enough these days for a movie.  Maybe I am just getting old, or at least old fashioned. 

So first good things.  I loved Eustace.  Eustace is one of my favorite characters of Narnia.  He is so unloveable.  Annoying.  You wish someone would eat him.  Then he has his moment, where he realizes what is what.  I also loved how they portrayed the relationship of Eustace and Reepicheep, it was real, meaningful and key to Eustace’s growth as a human being.  I also loved the imagery, the characters were perfect.  The End of the World was just how I saw it in my head.  The feelings were real.  The ship was exactly how I imagined.

What I could have done without: the green mist; the little random girl that lost her mom to the green mist (no green mist, no little girl) and finally the obvious overtones and preechyness (“You will all be tempted”).  Really?  REALLY?

I wish they had spent more effort on the magician’s house (who was a star but that isn’t dealt with), the wonders of the book  and with the daughter of Ramandu.  She isn’t a star but the daughter of a star.  It seems that there was more “cheap” magic but I can get over it.

These books can stand on their own.  There does not need to be some Goofus and Gallant overtone of morality.  There are so many layers of the story it can “age” with you.  I worry that my favorite book “The Magician’s Nephew” will either not be made, or it will just hurt my soul.

The Story of the Lisabear.

Blogging has been scarce in apartment 513.  Mostly because it a flurry of activity, no not for holidays, but for one big FAT holiday around the world.  But  in the spirit of moving I am finishing projects.

In January 2009 Tompaul left to go to England/Sudan.  It was extremely traumatic for me.  Not because he left (he does that occasionally) but because he went to Sudan (freaky) and because I had just burned my hand (third degree with cellulitis).  I couldn’t see patients.  I was a MESS.  I think only a very few people (my family) know exactly how bad it was.

Tompaul felt bad too.  One night he wrote me a story, which I read every day.  So for Valentine’s day that year I decided to illustrate it.   Now you may be saying, “Lisa, you can’t draw.”  Nope.  But I can create things out of paper. I just finished the very last page yesterday.  Everything (except for the handwriting of the story and the pupils of the bears) below is made out of paper.

Without further ado I bring you the Story of the Lisa Bear.   Written by Tompaul Wheeler and illustrated by Lisa Hermann.

Oh sweet weekend!

These past two weeks have been crazy, I haven’t stopped moving from St. Louis to the rally to today.  Non stop I say!  Work has been filled with complex cases and I am loving it but I have been challenged again and again.  Enough talk of work.  Blogging has taken a back seat also because our internet is ridiculously slow.

This weekend came none too soon.  High lights of  the week include a lemon risotto, which was fabulous; a salted caramel hot chocolate, which I think is better than the pumkin spice latte; and I finished season one of Avatar on Netflix.

Right now I am drinking my Vanilla Cinnamon Black Tea from Trader Joe’s, cozy in my chair watching the Secret of Kells.  So far is it is visually amazing.  I wish I had seen it at the Belcourt on the big screen.The images are so compelling, layered like the famous book itself.  Pictures within pictures.  Insular style at its best.

I recently finished another Lloyd Alexander book.

The Wizard in the Tree.  I love Lloyd Alexander’s writing.  Its about adventure, exploration and discovery of family.  In his books family takes many forms with many types of people.  Lloyd Alexander is big on heroines and discovery of one’s gifts.  I also like his love of cultures, old culture.  Culture is what makes us who we are and defines a people.  Sometimes that can be lost the modern life.

Band-aids and Books

Today I am giving a shout out to Earle Dickson.

Who is this wonderful man, orginially from Tennessee?  He created the worlds greatest invention, the Band-Aide.  His wife was a woman dear to my heart.

Josephine Dickson was constantly cutting, burning and scratching her fingers during cooking and other housie duties.  Imagine a bleedy finger…then trying to cut your gauze and then apply your own tape.  A little tricky.  Plus her bandages were always falling off cause she didn’t stop what she was doing…so he created the band-aid.

Why such a shout out?  Cause if you know me…or have seen me cook you know I am a klutz.  This weekend alone I have burned one finger, cut another and grated a knuckle.  So thanks Earl Dickson!  Much obliged.

Now for something less violent than my cooking (which today I made 4 batches of my fav. spinach pesto to freeze).  I finished The Rope Trick.  It is one of Lloyd Alexander’s later books, and one of my new favorites.  As a child I read the Pyridian Chronicles but didn’t know there were so many books.  Lloyd always had excellent heroines, something I appreciated.  Well in McKay book store I stumbled upon The Rope Trick. It is an captivating story about a magician’s daughter.  The store is not as epic as other books and seems to take place over a shorter time.  Also the books is dark and less humorous.  The ending is ambiguous and as an adult I love it.  Not sure how I would have felt as a 10 year old girl.  Anyway I recommend it.

Now off to my office for some serious work before we have our dinner guests tonight!

Weekend in Nashvegas (and a side trip to McKay)

Tompaul and I made a quick jaunt to Nashville.  The reason/excuse was we needed to bring more stuff back up with us…but deep down I think we just miss our home.

We spent Friday night in Roanoke, VA to say hi to my parents and crash.  Then early Saturday off we went…reaching Nashville  just in time for church.  If there is one thing I miss most about Nashville its my church.  Long before we moved to Nashville Bronwen attended Gracepoint Adventist Church.  Naturally we began going with her and long after she has moved to the chilly land of Maine we continued.  The big news is we have a new pastor Michael Cauley.  I am  hesitantly pleased.

It was nice to teach youth again.  We focused on Cain and Abel.  Not so much the first murder of the bible, but on redemption, the unpardonable sin and how we can not save ourselves.  Then off to Steve and Sharon’s for their much anticipated opening of their basement that was destroyed in the Flood.  It was a fun cookout with S’mores.  Ahhh its good to be in Nashville.

On the way back from Nashville we made a cursory stop at McKay’s of Knoxville.  I can never stop in to any McKay Bookstore w/o finding something!  This time I found four cookbooks. Tompaul got some books for our trip.  Then of course some good children’s books:

This one always makes me cry.


Humorous History

I have started reading The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell.

There are many things I enjoy about Sarah Vowell, but I appreciate most her ability to bring out the quirky bits of history and just put it into a context where I feel like the past has helped me understand the current.  For example The Wordy Shipmates has talked some about the love of books of the Puritans.  I definitely noticed this on our Noreaster trip.  So may bookstores!  I was salivating … everywhere.   Unfortunately they were all closed.  As Steve and Sharon (friends who helped us move) can attest, the last things Tompaul and I need are more books.

I think the first Sarah Vowell book I read was Assassination Vacation.  It combined my love of presidents, history and comedy.  So far this book is going well.  Of course I loved her as Violet in The Incredibles.