Monday, June 30, 2008

Every Freaking Penny

I think I made a wise investment decision last week - I used $200 from my dwindling ICBC settlement to buy this:

an Italian pizza oven.

There is an element in the lid of the oven, and a pizza stone set into the base. You preheat it for ten minutes while rolling your dough

and adding your toppings

then you use the wooden paddles to lift the pizza onto the stone and close the lid.

FOUR MINUTES LATER it's lunchtime.

Mr HalfSoledBoots thinks - and I'm sure others would agree - that I'm insane for spending two hundred dollars on this but I assure you, it was worth it. Blazing hot, perfectly cooked, the crust crispy and thin, the flavours intense...(and as an added bonus, it uses much less power than the conventional oven, heats hotter, and cooks quicker). I'm going to have fun with this appliance.

There's a pub nearby that sells an insanely good pizza with pesto, chicken breast and feta, and I think I'll try that next, maybe with some artichoke hearts. But I'm interested in other combinations that might not occur to me (as you can see above, I opted for The Usual on my first trial), so if you have a favourite pizza, let me know what it is.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Now You Show Me Yours

On Monday I opened up the mailbox to find this:

It is a beautiful present from my lovely uncles Joe and Dave, who are always so kind to me. They mean me to write, come hell or high water, or children clamouring around me.

To make a good start, I christened this journal with a list of my favourite words. Obviously, this list is a mutable thing - constantly in flux and never fixed.

This particular list was swimming around in my head as I woke up one morning last week: fully formed, as if from the mind of Zeus. I'm afraid I lost half of them by the time I got them written down, but here are those that remained. All are there simply because I like the sound of them...not necessarily what they represent.












Leave your favourite-word list in the comments. Could be favourites for any reason - that you like what they stand for, like how they make you feel, or you just plain think they're euphonic. (Oooh, euphonic! Must add that one.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Everybody's Doing a Better Job Than I Am.

Today it's my sister who has poked me in the eye and made me cry. She has written such a beautiful post about the strength of women. Here is an excerpt for you.

Whatever it is that your daughter excels in, encourage her. One day, maybe I'll hear your daughter playing the piano at the Chan Center in Vancouver. Maybe she'll perform my hip replacement surgery, 50 years down the road. Maybe I'll totter over to her veterinary clinic with my sick Teacup Poodle. (Okay, maybe not that one.) Perhaps we will watch her dive, or sprint, or win the long jump during the 2020 Olympic Games. Maybe your daughter will grow up and teach my grandchildren grade 7 Socials. Maybe she'll be the one who offers me her seat on the bus.

My hope for my daughters is that whatever they turn out to be -- a dentist, a hairdresser, a tree planter, an obstetrician, a stay-at-home mother -- whatever it is, that they will love what they do, and do it well.

Thanks Gwen.

But the climate is lovely.

I like living here on the Pacific coast. I'm rather fond of the enormous trees, the long stretches of forest between towns, the charming ferry system that is so integrated into our lifestyle.

Of course, there are a few drawbacks, get your giant banana slugs, your prehistorically-sized spiders, and you spend a lot of money on umbrellas and absorbent doormats.

Not to mention the disembodied PARTS that keep WASHING UP ON THE BEACHES.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Somebody does WIP it Wednesday....maybe Jo? Anyway, here are some WIPs (WIP = Work in Progress).

The centre of the Cap Shawl is almost complete. The rounds are now 738 stitches long so one round takes a fair bit of time, especially now that I've got these six purl rows to do. Purling doesn't feel any slower to me, but when I look at the clock I can tell it is. It takes me almost half an hour to do a round on this, at the moment.

Lace in progress is pretty boring stuff to look at, which is why I've spared you too many progress shots. There you have it, though: round 170 of 172. Feels like these next 2.5 rounds will take for-freaking-ever. (Aside: thank you Megan for formally introducing me, all those years ago, to the concept of the expletive infixation. It has validated all kinds of linguistic outrage for me. By the way if you have the time, do read that entire article - it's hilarious.)

And as promised I am showing you a picture of Charlotte's stocking. It was kind of a knit-centric week (trying oh, so hard, to get that stupid Cap Shawl done) so I didn't do much......if it sounds like an excuse, it is.

Last week:

This week:

Is it enough, O most enlightened reader? Or does the sun appear dark in your eyes because of my slack-freaking-assedness? I know which one I'd choose.

I'll do better next week, I promise.

Here's the peony, in full blowsy bloom. This is one decadent plant: between its scent, its glorious plumage, its syrupy buds, and its almost instant progress from bloom to decay, it is the Roman Dinner Party of the perennial world.

And that's all we have time for today. Catch you on the flip side, my fan-f*cking-tastic darlings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


jumbled up all here and there
bits of stuff are everywhere
furrowed brow as fingers do
magic with some glitter glue
push aside the towels and sit
just ten minutes while I knit
buttered scone and cup of tea
children snuggling with me
sometimes there's a bit of mess
but mostly...
mostly happiness

-Copyright 2008, me

It's Messy Tuesday and here is my longsuffering coffee table.

And here is a lovely, lovely post which is perfect for the day on which we look around at the things we Have to do, and decide instead to do the things we Want to do. Kristine is an occasional commenter here at HalfSoled Boots - I met her on Ravelry. She has lovely little baby and a busy life with family, home, work and craft, and she still finds time to blog. This short little post is a verbal snapshot of a warm afternoon with mothers and daughters and potting soil, and a few lines of inspired prose. It's just beautiful, and well worth your time to read. Enjoy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Plunge Right In

Erudite Mondays at HalfSoled Boots
Volume 4, Number 2

Laurent Ballista and Pierre Descamp

I saw the girls reading this (again) the other day, so I thought I'd peer over their shoulders and give you a little glimpse of this amazing book.

As a homeschooling mum I am always on the lookout for interesting resources. I don't really believe in limiting a child by their age level - that is, not giving them a book just because it is above their current comprehension or reading level. Content - that's another matter. I wouldn't hand Charlotte The Catcher in the Rye, for instance, or Dracula.

My kids have been glued to this book ever since it arrived, and they still haven't discovered everything in it. It's not directed to children, so the text is advanced and there is no attempt to make the science easier for young readers. This makes it a good challenge for the kids, and also means they get worn out fairly soon while reading it...there's a lot of information for a young mind to sort through.

The volume is over-sized, as a coffee-table book should be. The photographs are stunning - you can really count on National Geographic, can't you?

The coolest thing about this book are the photo captions. These contain the name of the animal, the location they were photographed, and the actual size. It's amazing to see some intimidating spiny crab with huge jaws, and then to read that the actual size is 5/8".

If you want to be smarter, read this book. Here is the chapter list:

The Ocean - That Great Unknown
The Undersea Prairies
The Polar Oceans
The Undersea Plains
The Undersea Forests
The Undersea Mountains
The Oases of the Open Ocean
The Coral Reefs
The Law of the Strongest
Adapting to Their Environment
The Love Life of Marine Animals
Living Together
The Indispensable Oceans

There is a heavy focus on sustainability in the face of the human population explosion, and the effects of human consumption on the world's ocean ecosystems. It doesn't hit you over the head, though - it shows you the breathtaking photos, tells you about symbiosis, describes the changing chemistry of water. You can't help but reach your own conclusions.

Every so often there is a two-page spread of text entitled "The Expert's Opinion", on such subjects as "Arctic Ecosystems", "Sustainable Fishing: The Great Challenge", "Coral Reefs: A Precious Asset in Peril", or "Tourism and Marine Biodiversity".

If you get a chance to look through this book, take it. It's a beautiful and challenging volume - in a jaded world there is still an entirely different, strange and wonderful planet to discover.

HalfSoledBoots Highly Specialised Book Rating System
Planet Ocean gets

Reread - Constantly
Given to Others - I won't let it out of my house but I push it on everyone who comes here
Bookplate - Yes


Friday, June 13, 2008

Well-meaning but Misguided

Making my garden rounds this morning I saw this poor old thing, hanging off a chive from one lifeless leg. At least he died happy.

And the deer have been around, as my beloved Northern Spy apple tree and my dwarf sumac can attest.

Now, you know I am careless about the inside of my house, but I am vigilant about untidiness in the garden. I weed like a crazed woman, hunting the beds for any sign, no matter how teeny, of an aggressive intruder. When I see a little sprout starting, I ruthlessly jerk it from its nurturing soil and toss it, roots-up, onto the concrete driveway in the blistering sun. Once it's dead and dried and wilted past saving, it goes into a garbage bin to be taken to the curb on "Yard Waste" day. I have no mercy. I am grim-faced and methodical.

I am a weeding Nazi.

I've lived here for four years and each year I struggle with this one particular weed, which keeps coming back behind my front bed. It's got kind of a furry, floppy, large leaf and it is pretty hard to get rid of. It must grow from root fragments or something.

Well, this year I did my first weeding day a little earlier than usual. I pulled out all the mystery weeds I could find. A month or so later, I noticed that two more of them had started up after I left, and were at a good distance from the edge of the bed. Hard to reach. I felt a fury and a hatred rise up within me, but I also felt something else - defeated. Demoralised. Woebegone.

I kept meaning to get out the long-handled cultivator and chop out those weeds, but got a little distracted keeping up with the perennial beds (and keeping Piper from uprooting and devouring them) and forgot about them.

Yesterday I went out to spend the afternoon in the front garden. I had to edge the front bed, tie up the peonies, deadhead the bachelor buttons, pull out the recurrent buttercup that is the scourge of my life and threatens to choke out the shrubbery, and weed the corner heather. I cleared out a meter-high collection of buttercup and stinky (but beautiful) pink weeds whose leaves look a little like bleeding heart. I stood back to admire my work, and that's when I saw them. Saw the weeds I have been pulling out for four years in an attempt to keep my front perennial bed beautiful and tidy.

While mourning the fact that I don't have enough money to buy any more lovely perennials to beautify my flower garden.

And here are the weeds.

And now I think I shall take up stamp collecting instead.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I've got some catching up to do.

I decided to do one of these book meme things instead of actually writing a post. YEAH BABY.

I wasn't tagged, but thanks Tara for the idea.

These are the 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. I've read the bold ones, underlined the ones I've started but not finished, and italicised the ones I plan to read.

Also I should note that I have never before been so tempted to lie in a meme.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Anna Karenina

Crime and Punishment


One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion

Life of Pi: a novel

The Name of the Rose

Don Quixote

Moby Dick


Madame Bovary

The Odyssey

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre

The Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov

Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies

War and Peace

Vanity Fair

The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Iliad


The Blind Assassin

The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway

Great Expectations

American Gods

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Atlas Shrugged

Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books

Memoirs of a Geisha



Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales

The Historian: a novel

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Love in the Time of Cholera

Brave New World

The Fountainhead

Foucault’s Pendulum



The Count of Monte Cristo


A Clockwork Orange

Anansi Boys

The Once and Future King

The Grapes of Wrath

The Poisonwood Bible: a novel


Angels & Demons

The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)

The Satanic Verses

Sense and Sensibility

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mansfield Park

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

To the Lighthouse

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Oliver Twist

Gulliver’s Travels

Les Misérables

The Corrections

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


The Prince

The Sound and the Fury

Angela’s Ashes : a memoir

The God of Small Things

A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present



A Confederacy of Dunces

A Short History of Nearly Everything


The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The Mists of Avalon

Oryx and Crake : a novel

Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed

Cloud Atlas

The Confusion



Northanger Abbey

The Catcher in the Rye

On the Road

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values

The Aeneid

Watership Down

Gravity’s Rainbow

The Hobbit

In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences

White Teeth

Treasure Island

David Copperfield

The Three Musketeers

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sting, Stang, Stung

More on this fuzzy fellow later. Click to embiggen.

My sister has been asking what Piper looks like now, at the age of four months. He's gotten a lot taller:

but mostly he has become kind of a handful. You know how puppies chew, right? Well, Piper doesn't chew so much as he eats. The other day he was lying beside me in the living room when i heard a funny swallowing sound. Sticking out of his muzzle were 2 inches of a 12 inch collar. I had taken it off him earlier and put it in my cardy pocket, and he pulled it out and swallowed most of it before I caught him.

Dealing with that was disgusting, really (kind of foamy-slimy), but the larger issue is that we have to be awfully vigilant about this dog. Stupid animal has a death wish.

Our house has also become home to another kind of pet: honeybees have set up a hive in our crawl space, between the floor and the insulation. I first noticed them coming and going out their front door, a gap in one of the wall vents to the outside...

We have called the local beekeepers' association, and they gave us the names of five beekeepers who would probably love to come and collect the hive. I don't know how long it will take but the bees are not bothering us - I quite like having them there actually.

However, on Saturday Emily fell down into a patch of clover in the front yard (our lawn is about 70% clover now) directly on top of a bee. She got a bad sting in her leg, which got red and hot very quickly. Within a few minutes she had an alarming network of welts all over her calf.

My mother is anaphylactic and carries an Epi Pen for bee stings, and I was a bit concerned about it as Emily has never been stung before. I had homeopathic Apis in the house, so I gave her three of them within ten minutes of the sting. The welts disappeared completely, and by the next morning all that was left was a tiny little stinger hole.

So I'm definitely keeping that remedy in the house. It's part of my growing Family Kit. So far I keep Arnica (for trauma, bruising), Apis (for stings and bites), Aconite (for panic), Influenzinum (flu), Hepar Sulph (for earaches, congestion and infections) and Ignatia (for worry and stress).

The last thing I wanted to show you is Charlotte's Christmas stocking. Remember this?

I have picked it up again, realising uneasily that it is halfway to Christmas and I've barely touched it. I really need to get it done this year, but at this rate I might not make it. I'll have to sacrifice some knitting to the cause, eventually, but I'd like to finish the Cap Shawl first.

Maybe I'll show you guys a picture of this thing every week, and if there isn't enough progress you can set up a hue and cry in the comments to get me going.

Now I'm off to clean up that coffee's moved to the top of my priority list because I want to knit for a while and I need a place to set my teacup.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Growth - with photos.

Origami beads, strung with Czech glass (and yes, the odd plastic) for a friend.

Cap Shawl update - I'm on round 153 of 163. Once the main body is finished, I shall have the pleasure of knitting the attached border.

Stripey socks news: a disaster befell me while I was riding to knitting a few weeks ago. Due to a combination of careless sock-stowage and winds generated by incredible, super-human speeds, my sock-in-progress, along with its Addi Turbo, got sucked into the pedal thingy. Like, the place where the pedal is attached to the bike. The entire shooting match was wrapped so tightly around the pedal thingy (help me out here, Lizbon) that I had to cut the yarn free, and now my Addi Turbo is permanently kinked in several places. Dirty grease is immovably ground into the leg of the sock. And I have lost my mojo.

But look how good my dinner was.

Baby Yukon Golds, olive oil, butter, rosemary from my garden, Maldon salt and cracked pepper.

Pink hardy geraniums, and my first ever stargazer (I think that's what it is).

Chives, a very pretty plant that also provides highly popular bee and butterfly habitat. These are unbelievably hardy, fast growing, and you can cut them down after their first bloom to get a second one later in the summer. Hummingbirds love them too.

And with all this stitching, knitting, cooking and weeding, some things are bound to take a backseat.

(Hi, knititch!)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Reader Meets Herself

Erudite Mondays at HalfSoled Boots
Volume 4 Number 1

Ali Smith

Let me tell you about when I was a girl, my grandfather says.

I knew from page one that this book would be getting as many points as I could give it. The first line of Girl Meets Boy slapped me right in the face...and stayed slapping me until I turned the very last page.

This is the second volume I have read from the Canongate Myth Series, which I had feared would consistently disappoint. Remember The Penelopiad? Well, Girl Meets Boy did not, in fact, disappoint. It clobbered me. It busted my cogs. It blew me out of the water and left me perched precariously on a tiny rock, shaking with adrenaline, my linen tunic soaked and seaweed in my hair.

I was small, our grandfather says, I was nineteen, but I could pass for twelve or thirteen. And I looked a bit like a boy.

Yeah, Midge says, cause you were one.

You may have heard Ovid's tale, from the Metamorphoses, of Iphis and Ianthe. Iphis' mother dressed her as a boy to prevent her dynastic father murdering her because of her sex. Raised as a boy, Iphis falls in love with the beautiful Ianthe. On the eve of their wedding, Iphis and her mother beseech Isis' intervention. Isis transforms Iphis into a man, the wedding is a success, and they live happily ever after.

Midge, my sweet fierce cynical heart, our grandfather says. You're going to have to learn the kind of hope that makes things history. Otherwise there'll be no good hope for your own grand truths and no good truths for your own grandchildren.

My name's Imogen, Midge says and gets down off his knee.

This retelling does interesting things with the original myth, but that's not the best part of the book. The best part is this: characters in Girl Meets Boy transcend and challenge their gender repeatedly - sometimes subtly, sometimes obviously. Nearing the end of the book, gender as an identity ceased to have meaning. The girlness of boys, and the boyness of girls, made it irrelevant.

Way back in the Celtic tribes, our grandmother says, women had the franchise. You always have to fight to get the thing you've lost.

There is only one thing in this book that I wish had been handled differently. The heroine's sister, Midge, is appalled by her sister's emerging sexual identity. I wish that the author hadn't endowed Midge with quite so many hangups, issues, and baggage. I think the reader is meant to feel a certain way about her - namely, that she is tiresome, ignorant, selfish and narrow-minded, and that her homophobia is all of a piece with the rest. It's all too easy to see that she is going to be the fly in the ointment: she is exercise-obsessed, bulimic, repressed, success-crazy, and intolerably superior. I would have liked the resident homophobe, who is obviously headed for an enlightenment, to be less typecast.

He was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen in my life.

But he looked really like a girl.

She was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen in my life.

I won't pretend everyone will love this book. The fact that I love it only proves that few others of my acquaintance will. But, if you think you can handle the feeling of being upended and shaken until your culture falls out, and feeling your mind expand to consider new ideas, by all means seek out Girl Meets Boy.

One last quote, from the opening page before the book begins:

It is the mark of a narrow world that it mistrusts the undefined.
-Joseph Roth


(HalfSoledBoots Highly Specialised Book Rating System [see what I did there?])
Girl Meets Boy gets:

Reread? Hell, yes.
Given as a Gift to Others? Yes. Carefully.
Bookplate? Yes because if this book walks I'll have to shell out for another one. Or two, just in case.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Apparently it's a delicate flower.

The other day I was sewing along, making my kids flowered beach bags, when suddenly my machine jammed. I figured it had to do with the terry cloth backing I was sewing onto the front of the bag, so I turned the flywheel by hand until it wouldn't turn anymore. I took the fabric out and there was a thread jam around the bobbin case. I picked out the threads and resumed sewing.

Not two minutes later, there was another thread jam. I pulled the threads out and started over.

Same thing happened again.

Now, a wiser woman might have said "I'll stop here - obviously my machine is having some problems." I, not being the Wiser Woman, kept at it through my rising frustration, yanking the bobbin around and pulling miles of thread out of the bottom of the machine, figuring the machine just didn't like the terry cloth.

I was pretty annoyed and frustrated when, after the last thread jam cleared, the stupid thing still wouldn't sew. The needle went down, the thing sounded fine, but it wouldn't make a stitch.

And even then, if I had just left ill enough alone, it would have been fine.

But instead, I took out the fabric, jerked the bobbin cover off, and forced the flywheel by hand. It still wouldn't turn and the stupid bobbin kept bouncing up. I showed it who was boss, but, you know, not too hard.

I finally gave up and took it in.

"Sure", friendly dude says, "it needs an overhaul, actually, so I'll have it for a couple of days and it'll cost you $85."

All right, no problem.

I get a call this afternoon, from an extremely upset sewing machine repairman.

"I don't know what the hell happened to your machine here, Sharon. I've never seen anything like it in my life."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah, there are these four cogs underneath your bobbin case, right? And somehow - and seriously I have no idea how - all four of them are busted beyond repair. I don't know how it happened - the machine motor itself isn't strong enough to do this kind of damage. I mean, it takes some serious force to break these cogs."

", how weird." (A fiery blush is creeping up my neck.)

"I mean, somebody would have had to turn that flywheel with a lot of force. I mean a lot of force. Then they'd have had to bang that bobbin case down WHILE turning it, and somehow hard enough to break all four of these cogs."

"Ah. Well....that's sure....strange." (Mystified, I am.)

Silence from repair dude. Then, suspiciously, "Well anyway, this is going to cost you at least $100 for the labour, then I have to get those four replacement cogs. You're looking at $150, probably."

"Uh, okay...well thanks then."

I feel like the doctor just confronted me about all the bruises on my toddler, you know?

My bad.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Conflict, Schmonflict.

Erudite Mondays* at HalfSoledBoots
Volume 3, Number 4

by Will North

Enormous spoiler warning. I'm giving away some plot bits, here.
This is an interesting book because it's a total departure from my usual preference for the dark and complicated. I based my decision to read it on one little line from another review, which claimed the novel was about " that comes along too late - and thus is doomed by the prior commitments of an honorable life..." because I thought Hey! that sounds like it's right up my alley! Dark! Depressing! Doomed! Pointless! Futile!

I was disappointed to find, when I was reading it, that it was a Paramount Pictures kind of doomed love - not a Globe Theatre kind of doomed love. In fact, partway through the book I turned, frowning, to the back cover and saw this: "...has invited some early comparisons with the bestselling work of Nicholas Sparks..." I gave a start of horror and a shudder of revulsion - if I had read THAT line, I wouldn't have bothered with the book in the first place.

There's a kind of thing some writers do, where they justify their characters' actions or emotions by providing circumstances that make a character's decision easy. This book was supposed to be about the conflict a woman feels when she meets, after 20 years of marriage, the love of her life. It could have been compelling, gripping storytelling, with the reader exclaiming involuntarily "Dear Lord!! What on earth is she going to do now? What would I do in this situation?"

Instead, the author makes it too easy for the woman (Fiona), for her would-be lover, for the reader, and for himself. He provides Fiona with a husband who she maybe, possibly, never really loved, who maybe, possibly, never really loved her, and who has definitely never satisfied her in any way. To complete the caricature, the husband is afflicted with a medical condition that requires him to live apart from her, and has turned him surly and occasionally violent.

"Well, gosh, now here's this handsome fellow on my doorstep who cries and writes poetry and cooks like Jamie Oliver and wants nothing better than to bring me Sheer Bliss for the first time in decades.....what to do, what to do......"

The premise is sound. The question is an interesting one - is there a soul mate for you in the world? Have you met that person? What happens if you love someone else first? What happens if you only meet that soul mate after you've committed to someone else? How important is passion when compared with honour, fidelity, and duty? All good questions, with a lot of potentially arresting responses. I just feel that, like so many others, this premise could have been developed in a more interesting and complex fashion.

I wish that the husband had been a different man. The conflict would have been more poignant if he had been a good, gentle man who loved his wife and whom she loved. There are many kinds of love, even kinds of romantic love, and there was no need to strip their marriage of it in order to set the stage for El Conquistador.

Despite all this, by the end of the book, I had grown to like it better than I did at first. Some of the obvious, expected things never happen - "The Lovers Are Discovered", for example, is a chapter conspicuously absent. I'm thankful for this - when The Lovers Are Discovered there is always a certain inevitable, ugly chain of events, and you're left wondering which of the subsequent actions are motivated by the discovery itself. It undermines the characters' decisions.

My primary school principal was fond of assemblies. When something bad had happened - like a hole punched in the wall, some casual vandalism, or the theft of money from the office - he would get the entire school together in the gym and storm at us for ages. He ranted and raved, looked sternly over his glasses, pointed with an unwavering finger, and, I think, tried to infuse the unknown culprits with guilt and remorse. He was given, during his tirades, to quoting this passage of Scripture, from Numbers 32: "Be sure your sin will find you out."

For years I lived in dread and fear of my every little sin 'finding me out' - by which I thought (and I think he meant) that some Authority would discover the truth, denounce me publicly, and I would pay ghastly consequences. It was only as an adult, when in the grip of remorse and knowledge of my culpability for a wrong I really HAD done, that I realised the misinterpretation. The truth of this verse, and the tragedy of it, is that I will find myself out - the knowledge of my wrongdoing will seek me out in the hidden places where truth lies, call my name ("Oi! Shannon!") and poke me right in the eye.

Here in "The Long Walk Home" the lovers are discovered only by themselves - they find themselves out, and act based on those realisations. I like this development and it's certainly more realistic. I'm impressed that the author decides, in the end, to go with the better interpretation of that little verse from Numbers - to resolve the situation by working on the inside of his characters. It redeems, in however small a way, a novel that comes a little too close to the simplistic for my taste.

The Long Walk Home gets:

Reread? Yes
Given as a Gift to Others? No
Bookplate? No
(But I have to admit I love.....I mean really love.....the cover.)

*I know it's Wednesday....I choose to make my own reality.