Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Great Hunt

I would describe Eye of the World, the first book in the wheel of time series, as a gentle river. The story grows like the tide, inch by inch covering your feet to your ankles to your waist while you serenely read. In comparison The Great Hunt is a steam engine on full throttle chugging down the tracks. It's a tsunami of a tale that is calm one second and thrashing about in tumultuous madness the next. I found myself always on the edge of my toes, wishing I could read faster--trying to read faster.

I just finished the second book yesterday. And, wow, it was good. I am glad I stuck with it.

If you want to read my review and mind canon for TGH, keep reading. Spoilers for Eye of the World and The Great Hunt will abound.

So the first half of The Great Hunt takes the male heroes (Rand, Mat, Perrin, Loial) and company (Verin) off to find the horn. They lose it again, of course--in a town that would make the subterfuge of Kings Landing appear tame, I think.

The ladies go to Tar Valon.

There is a new minor character introduced--Hurin. I really liked him. He fits nicely into the story, a man who can "smell" when violence has been done--and can follow the taint of murder with his nose.

The second half of the book sees the men still chasing the horn, while Egwene is sold as a slave (damane they are called) and Min and Nynaeve and Elayne (minor character from book one, the Daughter-Heir that Rand runs into) work to free her. I was frustrated with this part of the story because it was heartbreaking. And everything is happening so fast and furiously!

In the end Rand is proclaimed as the Dragon Reborn and fights the Dark One. Mat reclaims his dagger. The girls free Egwene.

That is a short summery of what happened. Now for my thoughts.

I feel like the characters personal growth development (that was so awesome in book one) was completely disregarded because the plot was progressing so rapidly. Book one ends with Rand who doesn't like Aes Sedai and doesn't want to be part of the pattern. He refuses to acknowledge his destiny. And now, at the end of book two, we have Rand who doesn't like Aes Sedai and doesn't want to be a part of the pattern and still is fighting to acknowledge his own destiny. I mean, throughout The Great Hunt we have to listen to him whine about being called Lord this and Lord that and hear him constantly repudiating anyone who thus names him. He has the biggest case of imposture syndrome I have ever seen. He also still cannot talk to women (Selene) still bumbles around like a farmhand, and is still hopelessly pigheaded. Besides finally realizing that he is the Dragon Reborn (and also hating it) he hasn't grown or matured much at all. What has he done with himself for 681 pages? He has progressed a bit in sword work and he's learned about channeling by messing around and surviving completely by the seat of his pants.

And it's the same for the other main characters. Take Perrin, for example. At the end of book one Perrin finds out he can talk to wolves. At the end of book two, Perrin can to wolves. He hasn't explored this or learned anything else about it. He is still afraid of himself and does not like his talent. Mat, at the end of book one is told he must go to Tar Valon to be healed. He is... you guessed it, still headed there at the end of book two! I know, I know, he had to go find the dagger because it was stolen.

I guess what I am saying is that I, as a reader, don't feel I learned anything more about the characters in book two. I did, however, learn a lot more about the plot and inner-workings of the Wheel of Time world. And the plot has become very complex. The dark one, the Machin Shin... the Light, the Whitecoats... so many chess pieces. How did one man have all this in his head? I am blown away by the complexity. It's an amazing read, even if the personal development feels limited.

The darkness--the vile evil--is a lot more potent and descriptive in book two. Many times I found myself disgusted and appalled at the things the Trollocs and Fain did and left for the Hunters to find. I was definitely a lot more uncomfortable reading book two than I ever was with the first one. Jordon absolutely explores the depths of corruption and doesn't hold back.

I am very pleased that Jordan does not include descriptive sex scenes in his books so far. There is love, and mentions of sex--but nothing pornographic. I hope this trend continues for all of the novels.

I really enjoyed The Great Hunt in blind-blowing proportions. On to the next book next month!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Eye of the World Reread

I've always wanted to finish Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series. I have read books 1-3 in college but quit after that. The series has been on my to read list forever. So I decided to tackle it now, of course, amid diapers and cooking and homeschooling. Why? I don't know. (Also this blog post contains spoilers from the first book so reader beware if you, too, have this on your TBR list)

Today I finished The Eye of the World; the first book in the Wheel of Time series. I remembered several things wrong. For some reason I thought Moiraine told the three boys that one of them was the Dragon Reborn and that the book was about finding out who exactly was the Dragon Reborn. She never mentions it to them, and honestly I don't even know if she suspected it until near the end. It's been 15 or so years since I read it, but I still surprised that I was that much off the mark.

I love the slow start to the book. It really drives home how rustic Mat, Rand and Perrin are. It's a slow start, yes--but the reader gets a very good grasp of the foundations of the charters, their homes, and their personalities.

The only thing I didn't like is the age-old woman vs. man struggles. The bickering between the sexes, the misinformation and the judging of women on men and men on women. I mean, it is probably realistic but the squabbling and juvenile barbs just frustrated me. I wanted the characters, at least, to be able to communicate among themselves. It was a tad overdone.

Because (rant) can't SOMEWHERE, men and women get along and govern together without bickering?! The Woman's Circle fights with the Village Council. The Aes Sedai fought with the men Aes Sedai 3,000 years ago. It just seems like somewhere, in some world---women and men can actually talk to each other with comprehension. Somewhere? I have hope. Moiraine and Lan seem to get along in their mostly work-related relationship, but everyone else is a bumble-foot when it comes to the opposite sex.

I don't remember anything about the next two books although I know I read at least the second one. I do have some speculations. I think that Rand marries Min (the seer that Moiraine knows that "looks like a boy") I am basing this off how she stared at him and just a general feel of their one conversation. Signs were there. I don't know if I am right. I do hope that Nynaeve and Lan get a happy ending. Does he remind anyone else of Aragorn from LOTR? I also hope Nynaeve looses her fear and disdain of Aes Sedai.

I really like Rand and Perrin. Matt annoys me, but lazy characters that play tricks on people are not my favorite type. Moiraine was also a source of ire because she never spoke plainly. I also did not like Nynaeve, she was bossy--I know she probably had to be, as a young woman in a high ranking position, but it exasperated me. She's one of those people who always thinks they are right and has a hard time seeing life from other perspectives, though she does grow as the book progresses. I probably find her hard to read because I personally was like her?

After Rand and Perrin, the gleeman is probably my next favorite character. The gleeman is hiding something, for sure. I liked him, but I could tell there was more to his character then met the eye.

If I was in the book, I'd wish to be a Tinker and dance the evening away. Their life when Perrin visited for a short while struck me as just the thing for me. I hope they find their song.

Finding out Rand was the Dragon Reborn at the end was perfect. I knew it all along because I remembered it, but still.

I can't wait to read the second one! My goal is two books a month, so that puts me through the whole series by January 2020.

Have you read these?

(picture by The Wheel Weaves Podcast and used with permission) I'm going to give their podcast a listen for sure.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Struggling with Continuity

I've been struggling lately.

I wanted to write a blog post about how my husband has been working 10-12 hour days but frankly I don't want to whine about it anymore.

Becky is still waking up every 2-3 hours to nurse.

It seems I can never catch up. I feed my kids really good food but I am exhausted and worn out and never see my friends or brush my hair. I can see my friends but feed the kids take out, spending money we don't have and giving everyone stomachaches because of our severe food allergies. I can take care of myself and feed the kids but can't leave the house and texts go unanswered and my bible sits gathering dust.

I've had life crises before; usually something has to go. I pare back, buckle down. Give something up.

But I don't think there is anything I can give up. I need to feed my kids healthy meals. I mean, we do easy stuff. Bagels or oats for breakfast, sandwich and veggies for lunch, and I cook for dinner.

I need to read my bible and spend time with God. I need alone time for my own spirit and creativity. I need community with friends and fellowship. I need to prioritize my husband and help him feel special and loved. I need to take care of our family, clean our home, and raise the children.

I need to not fall to pieces.

I am struggling with finding balance.  

A few weeks ago my husband was bit by about 15 micro ticks. It may have been 12, but it was more than 10 and less than 20 so I'm just going with 15 for now. It was awful. I spend three days panicking, a week researching and buying books. And now four (ish?) weeks later I've read Healing Lyme and compiled our protocol to start. He's also on 2 weeks of doxy, so we have all our basis covered. But so many ticks. I know we found at least 30 on him, some just crawling around.

Poor husband. I plan to do the herbal protocol too because I've long thought I might have lyme, but who knows. Ticks...on top of my husband working late just pushed everything over the edge. I have felt unable to cope, alone, overwhelmed, stressed, angry, tired...for days and days.

Last weekend my husband suggested that we take a mini vacation with the kids to Washington to visit some museums. I had to tell him no. I couldn't add a vacation (which to me is just working hard at being a parent in another area) on top of struggling with everything else! It was the biggest argument we have had in awhile.

Husband was confused why a vacation wouldn't be relaxing to me. I explained to him that it would take all my work but transport it to a unfamiliar place where I would probably get less sleep due to kids being in a hotel, where I would wear myself out walking around with children who would be over excited. Our last vacation to the beach left me sick for two weeks from an accidental gluten overdose. I didn't want to risk it and I also didn't want to try to cook and haul food around for two days. Brian had been working so much that what I really needed was help at home, help where I felt like I was drowning.

I tried to tell him that while he could take a vacation from his work, I woke up at work every day. I work through the night. I am always at work. I take my work on vacation and it's harder to mind excited kids and breastfeed and change diapers and sleep when I am not in a familiar place. It adds to my work. Specifically when he himself has been pulling long hours, leaving me at home parenting alone in the evenings when I expected to have a helper. 

In the end, I don't know if I was right or if I was just having so much anxiety and depression that I couldn't say yes. But we didn't go. And that is okay. Turns out husband also needed some home time just to be with our family after so many hours away. Turns out it is hard to communicate when everyone is running on steam and stress.

God is still good even when the train is running and I can't keep up. But I am tired, and I keep going.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Etsy Shop Reopened!

I decided to reopen my Etsy shop. It's been closed for four years!! I never thought it would be down that long; I disabled it after Reuben's birth. He's four now!!

I have a few patterns up and plan to add some hand knit and crochet items as I can. I can't load everything in one day, its just too much work with homeschooling and mothering. I am also trying to update pictures, there was a period when I was using a horrible cell phone to take project photos and those are just awful.

Please consider supporting me if you are looking for fun knitting and crochet patterns! Check out my shop here!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Becky Bib

I decided to create a Bulky Bib for Rebekah and also update the pictures for this pattern that I made. She is adorable and she loves her bib! Download the pattern here if you are interested.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Charlotte Mason Quote Printables

I made the printable Charlotte Mason quotes after desiring something to hang and not wanting to spend a lot on Etsy. I've never designed quotes like this before, so sorry if they are absolutely horrible. I am going to try and display one of these in our kitchen where we will be homeschooling. What one do you like best?

Feel free to download and print yourself!