Saturday, March 6, 2010

Booking Through Thursday - Grammar

In honor of National Grammar Day … it IS “March Fourth” after all … do you have any grammar books? Punctuation? Writing guidelines? Style books?

More importantly, have you read them?

How do you feel about grammar in general? Important? Vital? Unnecessary? Fussy?

I have never heard of National Grammar Day - cute concept!

I used to refer to a style and writing guide when I was in primary school, and had dreams of becoming the next Enid Blyton.

I have lots of grammar books, but honestly haven't read any of them. They are sitting in storage boxes for the time being, until we find our way back home, and I am ready to try my hand at some serious writing.

Grammar is vital. As some other responses have commented, a correct understanding of grammar (from the perspectives of both writer and reader) ensures that the right message is communicated. Unfortunately for me, I was one of the unlucky ones that went through school with the bare minimum of grammatical training - the little bit I have picked up has been gleaned from reading books, and a pedantic mother!

Verbally I am less concerned about precise grammar, because the tone of voice can carry almost as much meaning as the actual words. I have to admit, though, there are some grammatical slips that make my eyes water.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Reflection on 2009 Reads

btt button

It’s the last day of the year, and you know what that means … nostalgia and looking back.

What were your favorite books of the year? (Books that were new to you in 2009, if not necessarily published this year.)

I don't have any favorites, because I have read so many great books this year (at least until I started work again) One of the stand-outs though was "The Four Hour Work Week" By Tim Ferris - does this really need any further comment? It is inspiring to say the least, and something I want to work towards!

A surprise like was "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoyevsky - had been putting this book off for so long as I had assumed it would be a chore to read it. However, it turned out to be delightful, and one of my all time favs.

And I was excited to find "The Law and the Lady" by Wilkie Collins in a Borders store over here - I can read his books over and over again.

I hope that next year's reflection on books read wont be solely dedicated to dry legal journals.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - History

Given the choice, which do you prefer? Real history? Or historical fiction? (Assume, for the purposes of this discussion that they are equally well-written and engaging.)

I have a dilemma when reading historical works - I always feel that to understand what I am reading, I really should have a better understanding of some earlier chapter of history. But where should I actually start? At the dawn of time and work my way down the ages?

Last year I read a book called "A Short History of the 20th Century" (by Bill Bryson, I think...). This easy to read, novel sized work provided a snapshot of all the momentous events of the century, and while it left me wanting more detailed analysis, it gives a great framework for understanding the context of those events.

I don't really go for historical fiction, although I enjoy the stories, I am concerned, as other responses have suggested, that I might pick up erroneous ideas of history - my historical knowledge is sadly lacking, I don't need to fill the void with errors! In some cases though, historical fiction can open your mind to the real impact that history has had on real people. When I read "The 19th Wife" by David Ebershoff, I realised I had never considered what it would be like on a daily basis to live in a polygamous relationship and I was deeply touched by the emotions that the female characters underwent as the first, second or third wife. Historical fiction is able to go behind the the names, dates and numbers, to look at the personal aspect of history.

Some of the best historical insight to be gained is through autobiographies that provide a strong sense of history - "Wild Swans" springs to mind. I really enjoy this kind of work, where you gain an insight into the history of a certain time, and a very vivid personal account of the way that those events effect everyday people.

The Simple Woman's Daybook 26 December 2009

26 December 2009
Outside my window...isolated patches of blue, plenty of billowing cloud
I am nice it is to have a lazy day to relax and enjoy quiet time with AV
I am thankful for...not feeling too homesick for the first Christmas away from family
From the kitchen...leftover roast meat and vegetables
I am wearing...comfy new pj's and ug boots
I am creating...abstract plans about becoming more creative
I am going...out for coffee later with AV
I am reading...What's Wrong With the World - Chesterton
I am hoping...for a less stressful work week this week
I am hearing...the fridge rattling and my husband clicking keys on his computer
Around the house...books lying open, empty tea cups and candles
One of my favorite new dressing gown - toasty warm
I am pondering these words... "The sky must be invoked; and to begin everything with the weather is a sort of pagan way of beginning everything with prayer." Chesterton, What's Wrong With the World.
A few plans for the rest of the week: gym at least 3 times this week to work off Christmas excesses, finishing my book
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...our Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve, and the warm glow of candles.

Play along at The Simple Woman's Daybook:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm Back!

Hello Lovely people,

I have missed blogging so much since I started work. It is a full time job and then some, with additional stress to bring home in the evenings and on weekends, and honestly, it hasn't left me with much energy to do anything much in my personal life.

That needs to change.

Since I came back from my recent trip home to Australia, I have been waking up much earlier, going to the gym and having a bit of quiet time before work. I am thinking this should become blog and reading time.

Anyway, that's the plan. Maybe even a resolution for New Year?

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...5 minutes ago, sheeting rain (in the desert no less!) now, clearing blue and some wispy cloud. Love it.
I am thinking...
about how to make this Advent and Christmas time a special one away from home and in a foreign country.I am thankful for...the lovely time we had on our recent trip home, catching up with beautiful family and wonderful friends
From the is still relatively early - so just a steaming mug of tea so far
I am wearing...3/4 trackies a tank and a pashmina
I am creating...a dent in the housework that built up over the last week
I am church later in the day
I am reading..."Calm at Work" by Paul Wilson - we'll see
I am hoping...that there will be more rain later in the day - it seems to have cleared completely now
I am hearing...hindi music, constructions noise from next door, and the winding down whir of the washing machine
Around the house...things are everywhere, washing hanging on the dryer, suitcases waiting to be stored, several pairs of flip flops scattered about
One of my favorite things...the candle burning down to almost nothing beside me
A few plans for the rest of the week: work, work, work and a nice dinner for hubby when he comes home on Monday
Here is picture for thought I am sharing... beautiful wide open aussie spaces

This was my first entry for the Simple Woman's Daybook. To join in, visit

Friday, August 28, 2009

Going to Goa!

I am going to India! Yay!!!! I have been wanting to go for so long, and now I have an opportunity. Unfortunately it is for work, not for pleasure, and so I can't bring AL with me. I think he is a little envious.

Our work is holding a retreat in Goa, and I am lucky enough to have been invited along. I heard it is the monsoon season over there right now, and I can't wait to see rain again. The forecast for all of next week is rain and thunderstorms!

Hopefully I have an opportunity to take some pictures, because it has been way too long since I had the camera out, and I really want to show you all some more scenes from this part of the world.

Now...what to pack...

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Countdown has begun

Well, actually for me, the countdown began a while ago. But in 19 days, the Dubai Metro will officially open! Yay!! There is a stop right outside my apartment, and one right outside the zone where I work, so commuting will become much easier. No hanging around for hours after work if AL has to work back or gets stuck in traffic - I can pop on home and have dinner waiting for him.

Also, weekends are going to be better, because we won't need to worry about finding a car park at our favourite end of town, and all the malls have a station next to them.

I am looking forward to being mobile again, and getting out and about to meet people without relying on cabs or kind friends to pick me up.

I am just hoping that the station near our apartment opens on time - not sure I can bear waiting another 6 months for my ticket to freedom!

Will have to add some pictures of the near complete stations soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Its Off to Work We Go

It is incredible how quickly you settle back in to the daily grind of getting up, having a shower, swallowing some tea and breakfast (if you're good!) and walking out the door. Clocking in at work, making a tea while your computer switches on, then switching off almost everything personal about you while your eyes glaze over in the soft blue glare. Clocking out at 10 minutes past leaving time (if you're lucky) and heading home to a messy house that needs sweeping, but maybe tomorrow, falling into bed and dreaming about the day that was and the day that is to come.