Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book #18

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping - Judith Levine

So, is it ironic/profitic that I got this book from Paperback Swap and didn't actually buy it.

Interesting book. Somewhat guilt inducing. Written in 2004 and included a lot of content focusing on the presential election and campaigns. Actaully a little too much for my tastes, but relavent at the time the book was written and published.

She and her husband really were the perfect test subjects for this experiment. Freelance writers, fifty somethings, no children, split their time between New York City and Vermont (poor things). So, they decide that they are not going to buy anything but essenttial itmes for an entire year. This is including entertainment like movies, concerts and theater, unless they are free performences. They managed and saved a bunch of money in the process and learned to enjoy different experiences that they probably wouldnt have tried if not for the project.

It is a study of how deeply engrained shopping is in our culture and how hard it is to not shop in our culture. Shopping is a competative sport.

Peace on Earth and My Front Door

Peace on Earth
Peace be With You
Peace Baby
Peace, Joy and Love
Peace Out

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book #17

Yarn Harlot - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Whew, taking a class really screws with your free time. It has seriously cut into my reading for pleasure. Blogging, too. (I'll be lucky if I make 20 books let alone fifty)

About the book. Very funny. A collection of essays of a sort. She can take absolutely anything and spin in (no pun intended) to somehow have something to do with knitting. she is a woman obsessed.

I follow her blog as well and this is a very good lead in and/or supplement to it. I wish I had as much time and yarn. One can only hope and strive, right.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Raindrops on roses and Vampire mittens....

These are a few of my favorite things...... la la la....

Ok, seriously, I have two sets of Bella's Twilight mittens to show off. One for myself and one for my eight year old niece, who is very into Twilight. (Don't ask me, talk to my brother!)

The adult size are worked in a tweedy chunky wool blend, it's Paton's of some sort. I don't remember the exact yarn, now. For Jesse's little Bella mittens I re-worked the pattern a bit. I dropped of one row of cables, but otherwise followed the pattern. I used smaller needles and a worsted weight yarn. Again, it is a Paton's brand (I am quite loyal to Paton's, it's a Canadian thing) wool blend. It's very soft and not itchy. I didn't want to traumatize my niece by making her the worlds coolest, yet most uncomfortable mittens.

In the movie the mittens are a kind of steel grey. I choose a more grey blue for both pairs. I have a request for one more pair, which I will be starting soon. Gotta get 'em done. It's finally cold in Texas and our mitten wearing season is limited.

Here is a clip from the movie featuring said mittens. I do have the link to the pattern in a previous post about the Twilight mittens. Now that I have a grateful recipient, I will be doing a bit more Twilight knitting. At the very least a hat to match and there is a really nice scarf that Bella wore in the baseball game scene. At least Jesse lives in Canada were it is cold and will actually get to use them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stick a fork in my eye, I'm done!!!

Whew, just turned in the midterm from hell.

Just a crazy thought, but what insane sadist creates an online midterm of 11 essay questions that requires 8 hours......yes, 8!!!! hours to complete.

Am I in grad school...... Am I working on my PhD..... Post Doctoral work, perhaps....

NOPE!!!!! Freshman American history - Columbus to the Civil War.

But I did it. I turned it in yesterday, a day before the due date.

Stick a fork in my eye, I'm done!!!!!!!!!

(I better get freakin' good marks!!!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lordy, lordy, look who's forty....

Never has a birthday bothered me. I usually just roll with. No biggee, no worries. I'm not a big birthday person anyway. No "Birthday Week or Month" for me.

Ya, turning forty, not so much. I don't like it. I don't want to be forty. I feel like forty is halfway to dead and I have not even begun to do what all I want to do.

But, realistically...... I have a great little family, the bestest hubby and two gorgeous boys. I own my own house. (even if it is kind of messy sometimes) My job is a good one and I make a difference and help people every day. (at least I like to think that I do) I am finally finishing my degree. (if it kills me!!!!)

I read, and cook and sew and knit and that makes me happy. (when I find the time to do it)

Ok, so what's a few grey hairs and wrinkles. (the bags under my eyes are not up for discussion) So what if I can't wear the jeans I wore 10 years ago. (they are not in style anyway) I know I'm too old for Uggs. (but I still wear them)

I refuse to feel sorry for myself. (at least I'm not forty-nine, like my brother, then we'll talk)....

PS: Thanks to all whose warm fuzzies made my birthday a little brighter.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Book # 16 - Eat Pray Love

So, I did it. I read Eat Pray Love - by What'shername, sorry too unmotivated and tired to recall her name and unwilling to google it or go and find the book in the bedroom to figure it out right at the moment.

Anywho... For the record, it was not Oprah that got me to read this book. Strangely it was actually John Stewart. He did a bit on his show about how the book has been turned into crack by Oprah and thus gobbled up by her many minions. (I'm not an Oprah fan, didja guess) And I was wanting to read it anyway, 'cause I picked it p at Costco one day and read the jacket and the whole foodie thing appealed to me.

I do have to admit that I did like it. It was funny and entertaining. It was not a spiritual awakening, or motivational or anything like that.

It was a travel memoir - that's it - that's all. Written by a self absorbed GenXer.

I really truly believe that unfortunately in the wrong hands this book is probably destructive and dangerous. It is NOT a spiritual guide and I think that many "I really wanna do/try _____" type people that happen to be in a bad place in their life will read this and go completely off the deep end.

This is what I dislike about Oprah, her incredible ability to sway the weak minded in whatever direction she pleases. I think she gets off on it. "Muh ha ha ha ha... the power I hold over my minions..... Dance monkeys!!"

Now, on the topic of power mongers.... Martha Stewart, I like that gal.

But, I digress...

I'll say it again loudly and slowly for all the ladies in the back row, TRAVEL MEMOIR, nothing more, nothing less. Funny, clever and entertaining, FOR WHAT IT IS.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sister Gloves

Striped fingerless gloves.

Not twins, but still sisters.

Patons self striping sock yarn, 90% wool, 10% nylon.

I see more of these in my future. Maybe in a chunky Alpaca.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How do you harvest the wind?

When I was home visiting the fam, we went on a field trip one day over to Wolf Island. It was a fairly short drive and a short ferry ride over. The island is not big. Maybe 10 miles wide and 20 miles long. I suppose some people probably live there year round, but i think it is mostly summer homes and cottages. And windmills.

The island is covered in giant white windmills. Every direction you look. A wind farm.

They are for generating electricity. Not a foreign concept to me, but I have never seen one up close before.

They are huge and make the most amazing sound.

You stand there and stare up at it. The island is quiet really, just nature sounds, birds, bugs...

And hear the most amazing, quiet, powerful, whooshing.....

Harvesting the wind....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Knitting Circles are Political??

So, I went to a knitting group the other night. All things considered, besides freezing my ass off in the Starbucks, it was pretty fun. There were only 2 other ladies that arrived, but that's OK.

Now what shocked me was that there is a whole under current of drama and politics in these meet up groups.

There are several around here in North DFW suburbia. And they are all aware of each other. And they all talk about each other. And one person will start a new group and recruit/"steal" members from the other groups. Blah, blah, blah, or rather cluck, cluck, cluck.

Weird. and all I wanted to do was to meet some new people that are knitting nerds like me.

I may have to see what is involved and start my own group. Ha!! There is a lovely Irish pub here in town and it would be a sweet place to meet and stitch and bitch.

How 'bout them apples!! (Bock bock)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Grandma's and Grandpa's Garden...

My parents have the best yard. They do not live in Texas! This is obvious at a glance. I took a few pretty pictures when I was home and want to share. And it takes me to my happy place when I look at them.

Mom's Hydrangea bush.

And Dad's grafted apple tree. It has 5 or 6 different types of apples grafted onto the same tree.

Lavender, which I have never been able to successfully grow here in Texas.

And a whole lot of tomatoes, especially the cherry ones. There were more, but I think the kids cleaned off the plants before this pictures.
And the grass...... It has been a long time since I have walked barefoot in the grass and it felt good on my feet! The kids kept rolling around on the lawn. Look Mom, no fire ants!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Book #15

Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris

Sookie Sookie Sookie...

Book 8 in the series. A Vampire wedding, another epic battle, The Big Easy, an unfortunate incident involving a Witch and a Mormon and Sookie gets a new room mate.

Finished watching the first season on DVD. Hmmmm, does a True Blood Season 2 DVD box set qualify for tax free weekend. I'm sure it is some kind of school supply...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Well, here I am with the first of the Canadian edition entries.

I hope create some kind of an homage to my visit homeward. I am working on some pictures to post.

It is amazing how you acclimate to the weather where you live. It is pretty hot here, especially if you figure in the humidity, but after 105 F, 85 F doesn't feel too bad.

I love listening to everyone talk. I know I never sounded like that, ha! It actually is a little bit of a bummer that I have lost as much of my accent as I have. It'll be back for a while after I leave. I'll have to work on it some while I'm here.

Off to watch movies with the fam....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I know, I drank the Koolaid...

Just set up my iPhone so I can mobile blog. Ha! Just what I need. Let's see how successful this is...

Book #14

Dead as a Doornail - Charlaine Harris

Yes, yes, Sookie Stackhouse again. (Book #5 in the series)

These books are like crack to me, dammit!!

We can now add Fairies to the list of creatures. Plus snipers and arsonists. Never a dull moment in Bon Temps, Louisiana.

I am now watching the first season of True Blood on DVD. Hubby is home!! I couldn't wait for it to be delivered via Netflix or to borrow it from my co-worker. Went out and bought the first season this past weekend. Can you say instant gratification!! Now, same above mentioned co-worker has the 2nd season coming from Amazon and has also graciously offered to lend it to me when he is finished with it. I'll probably buy that one, too before he gets to bring it to me.

So, about the TV series. It is different and yet the same as the books. It actually lends an additional dimension to the books, I think. They compliment each other. I don't know the story behind Charlaine Harris's input in making the HBO series. I expect she is pretty heavily involved. This merits some further research. As always, kudos to HBO. I heard some blurbage on the radio stating that True Blood is the new Sopranos from a popularity and ratings standpoint.

I gotta shake this vampire thing, but not until I've re-read Interview with the Vampire and completed a couple more Twilight Vampire knitting projects. Hmmm, that's really kinda nuts...I am not normally trapped in the brain of a 16 year old girl. (Although, I hope that there are not too many 16 year olds watching True Blood...yikes, a lot of VERY adult content!!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Twilight Mitten Prototype

I finished a sample mitten. It initially was not supposed to be a sample, but I messed up the gauge, so will go back to the drawing board.

I started it out on a round needle, but when I started the decreases it got too small, so I switched over to 4 double points. I should have known better, but the double points were a 1/2 size larger than the rounds. That really messed up the gauge. I wound up with a Twilight oven mitt.

Oh well, live and learn. The pattern is quite nice. I love the horseshoe cable. I took the pictures with some shadowing to show off the cables.

I have already started again, this time on 4 double points from the beginning and messing with the gauge again. Silly me!! I chose needles a 1/2 size smaller than recommended, so I have a much tighter knit and hopefully fit. I am hoping that they are not so much like gauntlets when the are finished this go around.

Check SpellingYou can see right before the thumb gusset where the gauge changes. Ack!! It is definitely a work in progress. Will post a picture of the new mitten with the tighter gauge tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book # 13

Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris

More True Blood. Yuppers, book number 4. I am so hooked! I have at least book 5 and 6 on my book shelf already.

So, enter Wiccans, Witches, a Fairy and more Shifters and Weres of all shapes and sizes.

A lot of mayhem and amnesia.

Spells and fangs.

One of my co-workers has promised to bring me the first season on DVD!! I may have to walk all the way to the 14th floor to check up on him today.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I love my new coffee cup...

I love it! It's pretty and fun and practical and environmentally friendly and BPA free...ceramic with a silicon lid and dishwasher friendly and $7.99 plus tax and it looks reeeeaaal cool on my desk!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Book #12

Deja Dead - Kathy Reichs

This is Kathy Reichs, creator of the Bones TV series. For the record, the books have been around a lot longer than the TV show. Also, the show pretty much sucks compared to the books. I watched one or two episodes when it first came on and hated it!! I've since given it a second try and it is okay for what it is. If I completely file away the books in my brain and focus on the show as if the books don't exist, it's pretty good in fact.

This is a re-read for me, but some times a great re-read is like comfort food for me.

This is another forensic anthropology book. Kathy Reichs is a board certified forensic anthropologist, so her books, like Jefferson Bass are realistic and well researched. I have read all of her books, actually own all of her books in hard back. I don't collect a lot of novels, but I do like her so much that I have them all. I have pretty much re-read most of them, so it is a worthy investment. I won't keep a hard back novel unless I intend to re-read at some point.

Now, other books, especially crafts, sewing, knitting, quilting, or cookbooks, I am a lost cause, I love them and will hoard them to excess.

All her books are split between Charlotte, North Caroline and Montreal, Quebec. This alone appeals to me as a Canadian Ex-pat living in the southern US. I like to see her perspective as an American in the cross over of culture. In her real life she really does split her time between Canada and the States, so what she describes is very true to life in my world, just from the other side of that Ex-pat coin.

This book focuses on the hunt to track down a serial killer in Montreal. Quite graphic and gory, so not for the faint at heart. If you spook easily reading these types of books, it's gonna creep you out. In hind sight, even having read it before, this was not the best of choice for me to read right at the moment given my current circumstances. But, I still read it didn't I. I actually read it while in the midst of reading another non-fiction book as well. I can't gobble non-fiction at the same rate as fiction for some reason.

High praise and recommendations for Kathy Reichs. note: Read her books in the order they were published or you will be missing out on some key subtleties.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Twilight Mittens

Ah Ha!! I finally found the pattern again. Saw it once and could never seem to find it again.

Bella's mittens as seen in the first Twilight movie, which by the way is almost worth watching if only for the knit wear. Mental note...must check for additional patterns. I bet I could find some on Ravelry.

Here is the link...

Got the pattern, may have to brave The Woolly Ewe on a Saturday in search of the yarn. Pure insanity.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When the Cat's away, the Mouse will Ebay...

I was naughty!!! I was shopping on Ebay, looking at ridiculous things I do not need that clutter my house, but I love what I got!!!!!!

It is an antique Wedgwood Tea Pot, well technically I think it is actually a coffee pot based on it's shape, but whatever, it's soooo pretty.

The pattern in called Green Leaf and it was discontinued in 1949, if i did my research accurately.

Now I have a Brown Betty and a Wedgwood.

Let's have tea!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A little bit of sewing...

I finally have gotten around to doing a bit of sewing again. I just gave in to the temptation the other night and pulled my stuff out. I usually don't get around to it, because it is the last thing on my list. A frivolous indulgence. Yah, like reading all the time isn't, too. Reading is less work and a lot less set-up/clean-up. You see, I don't have a dedicated sewing room, or a spare bedroom for that matter, to leave things set-up and ready at a moments notice. This set-up also requires toddler nap time/bedtime, or have have little fingers "helping" me.

Anyway... I have had the idea in the back of my head for a while now. I want to make a scrap quilt. I have been saving some old clothes just for the project. I sacrificed some of the Big Boy's old flannel pj's. Nice grey plaid and blue plaid. Very soft and well loved. I assured him that they will now be immortalized in a family heirloom. Or at least a snuggle blanket for the couch. Also, a couple tops that were given to be as hand-me downs that never actually fit me, some old worn out scrubs and some cotton shorts. There is no colour scheme, the theme is recycling. I'll post my progress as I go. It will keep me motivated to work on the project.

Ok, so the quilt. I was trying to work it out in my head exactly how I would do the blocks. Plain squares, triple strips, half triangles. I didn't want to be too complicated. End the end I ditched not complicated and went with log cabin. A little more work, since I can't really stack and whack with the fabric being chunks selvaged from old clothes. So I am doing one block at a time. No mass production. Oh well. It looks pretty cool. I finished 5 squares in one sitting. The plan is to have a throw for the couch before the youngest graduates from university.

Before....and after....

The first 3 squares.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vintage Knitting Patterns

I scored the coolest lot of vintage knitting patterns off E-bay the other day and they arrived in the mail today. The oldest is dated 1956 and they look like they range from the 50's to the early 80's. I snapped a few shots with my iPhone to show them off.

These are the oldest of the lot. The center coloured booklet are the mid 50's patterns.

This is from that booklet. It doesn't show very well, but if you look closely at the gentleman on the right you will notice that he is smoking in the picture.

A couple of the women's sweaters from the same booklet. Below are from a different booklet and if I was to guess, look to be late 60's or early 70's. I am totally in love with the black sweater with the daisies and matching headband!!

There is one booklet that is all socks and slippers and another that is all mittens, but done with a two needle technique. Lots of baby layettes and one Woman's Day knitting magazine from 1976. They are all in really good shape. A little musty, but livable. They were worth it just to look at the pictures. There are several patterns that I do seriously want to look at, though.

Yay, totally COOL BEANS!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book #11

Northern Lights - Nora Roberts

I got the book for $0.50 from the local thrift store, looked like it had never been read...hmmm, maybe that's a red flag. Nah, pretty much have never met a Nora Roberts novel I didn't like. Again, back to the brainfood component...yes, missing, but hey, I'm reading and that is more than ?% of the population. My personal guess is 75% of the population does not read.

This is a typical Nora Roberts romance/mystery combo and our hero is yet again a police officer. I would like to know the story behind Nora's obsession with law enforcement as the strong brooding heroes of a great many of her books. I guess the formula works, she keeps churning them out and we keep consuming them and then she gets big fat royalty cheques.

This one takes place in Alaska. I think the number one thing I like about her books is that they are usually set in some quirky, interesting locale and she paints such a compelling a picture that you feel like you have got to book your plane tickets as soon as you finish the last chapter. Plot...same old same old, firecracker heroine, strong brooding hero, a murder, a mystery, a couple plot turns.....meh.

I had figured out who the bad guy was a while before I finished the book. Predictable. Also, the book was really long, for what it was, at 637 pages. It was a little too much work to read that long of a fluffy no-brainer. I enjoyed it, but more because it made me nostalgic for Northern Exposure.

I used to watch it occasionally when it was on network TV. And then Hubby and I started watching the full seasons from Netflix. The DVDs are mixed into our queue, so every so often you get a pleasant surprise when you open the red envelope and NE is in there.

If we ever wind up in Alaska, it will because of Northern Exposure. But, I would only move to Alaska on one condition. We would have to move to Cecily and those people would really have to live there. Northern Exposure and Harry Potter have the same effect on me. Some times I get really bummed when I realize that they don't really exist. I want to knit with Marilyn and hang out with Maggie and throw rocks and sticks at Joel. Shelly and I would both be from Saskatchewan and could talk about home and hockey.

But, alas, it isn't really real.....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book #10

Club Dead - Charlaine Harris

This is the third Sookie Stackhouse novel aka True Blood

Ok, I never said that this 50 book thing was going to be brain food, so stop judging me. There is no disclaimer about fine literature.

Whahahahah!! I love this series. Chew 'em up and spit 'em out. Super easy reads and entertaining my ass off. I will have to take a bit of a break though, savor them, but I think there are at least 5 or 6 more books in the series at the moment which means I at least don't have to wait for them to be written and published. (think Harry Potter.....what....yes, I am literary riffraff)

So, there is now a running tally on supernatural creatures. We've got vampires, telepaths, shape shifters, maenids and enter werewolfs (werewolves, hell I don't know if there is a correct plural for a make believe creature) Plus Kings and Queens and mercenaries and sheriffs....kinda nutty.

I am still not watching the HBO series, yet. I am holding out until Hubby gets back from Cali to start watching. Yes, my love, I will be patient.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book #9

Bones of Betrayal - Jefferson Bass

This "author" is interesting. This book, which is the 5th (I think) in a series is actually co-authored by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Dr. Bass is a forensic anthropologist and professor at University of Tennessee. He is the founder of the U of T's Anthropology Research Facility aka The Body Farm. The Body Farm is basically an area specifically designed to study decomposition in as many varied and creative ways as people who study that kind of stuff want to be. Using...yes, human bodies...people actually will donate their bodies to the farm for research in the event of their death. Crazy stuff! Jon Jefferson is a writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker that met Dr. Bass during the making of a documentary on The Body Farm. They now collaborate writing fiction about a forensic anthropologist and professor at U of T named Bill Brockton. (note the similarities, hmmm??)

Ok, I checked, this is the 5th book in the series. I have read the previous four as well. All very good, entertaining, funny-ish, well researched and accurate (as far as I can tell, anatomically nothing seems to be amiss, but really, what the hell do I know about forensics except what I have learned ready other books)

This particular book is about the mysterious murder of an old man from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Oak Ridge of Manhattan Project fame. The above mentioned old man is a physicist that worked on the Manhattan Project during WW2 and is murdered by the ingestion of iridium192 and subsequent radiation poisoning. A couple more bodies turn up along the way and then of course with the twists and turns of any good mystery there is a surprise at the end.

I was intrigued by the details surrounding the radiation poisoning. There is a lot of effort put into describing the "radiation incident" and the fall out (no pun intended) as a result. Keep in mind that the man's body held a radioactive substance and then was transported and sat in the morgue until it was discovered on autopsy that the body was contaminated. Multiple levels of exposure by multiple people. The books does a good job explaining the exposure, the protocols, the after effect's of exposure and so on. This captured my interest maybe a little more than the average Joe or Jody, due to the nature of my job that does involve a certain component of emergency preparedness. I do work with radiation experts and we do have protocols in place re: accidental radiation exposures and junk

The historical component of the book was also very good. There was a great deal of detail about the Manhattan Project, the "race for the bomb" and key people involved in it. Some was fictional and some was not. I really don't know very much about the history of WW2. Sad to say that I am very deficient in my knowledge of 20th century history, period. That was the one year in high school that history was optional and I chose to take art and home ec instead of history, Go figure. Anyway...
The book does get into the history of the "race for the bomb", a touch of espionage, and also a touch of ethics all in relation to the nuclear research of the time and where it lead.

There was a reference in the book to Dr. Strangelove. I am now going to have to watch this. We own it, so it's right there on the bookshelf. I do love Peter Sellers and am quite looking forward to watching this movie, now. I think I did start watching it once, but never finished. Will report back...of course.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bringing Out the Dead

We watched the movie the other night. Not bad. I will almost never endorse a movie based on a book because they pretty much always suck. (been burned too many times) This was pretty true to the book, which is a monumental feat unto itself. I'm tellin' ya!!

Directed by Martin Scorsese, and staring Nick Cage, that goes along way right there!

Dark and gritty like the book.

In my own mind's eye, some things were darker than others. The movie Emergency Department was like Disneyland compared to my images, but the homeless people were totally freaky and I had not envisioned them that way at all. (Maybe Canadian homeless people are cleaner and nicer than the ones from NYC, my only really up close and personal experiences with homeless pan handlers was in Toronto and at the time they didn't seem so awful, just sad)

Gotta say I am impressed. They managed to pull this movie off in a very Batman/Gotham City kinda way. It was really weird, but so was the book, nothing changed there.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Book #8

Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris

Another Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire novel. aka True Blood

I see the appeal of this series of books. Funny, creepy, naughty...

Of course this also had the Dallas angle, too. Albeit it didn't talk about the city in great "real" detail. The commentary about the traffic and urban sprawl is legit.

Introduce more supernatural creatures.

What the hell is a maenad anyway?? (a crazy ass possessed woman from Greek mythology, if I remember my myths correctly)

I am now going to have to take a break from vampires until the 3rd book in the series arrives. I have several more that my Beloved so thoughtfully found for me at 1/2 Price Books, but alas, he was unable to find #3. Paperback Swap, you are my friend....snail mail, not so much.

Oh well, I have a good rotting bodies book that is next in the que.

Theater Jones - Feed Your Need

Theater Jones - Feed Your Need

A new review by my Beloved. American Buffalo - a David Mamet play.

Friday, June 4, 2010

We love us some scones...

We do love scones at our house. All four of us. Well, five if you count the dog, who has been known to snarf up a scone or two when you are not looking.

I am in search of the perfect scone recipe. I have tried several and i have found one in particular that I like for many reasons, but ease of use is number one.

I always have the ingredients on hand, nothing weird like buttermilk or self rising flour needed. And they are a drop recipe, you don't need to roll them out and cut them, making them very low maintenance.

I have them down to a science and can whip up a batch in about 10 min, not counting baking time and they have become a weekend staple. I think our favorite is sour cherry, but any dried fruit will work, raisins, cranberries, blueberries etc. etc. I'm gonna try to pull the recipe out of my head:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cold butter (unsalted)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

cup-ish of dried fruit

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

Mix dry ingreds together, except fruit

Cut in the butter until crumbly

Lightly beat egg together with milk and then add to dry ingreds

Mix it together until it looks mixed, then add fruit

Mix together some more and then drop blobs onto cookie sheet, should make an even dozen

Bake at 350 for 25-30 min.

Make a cup of tea and enjoy.
My little kitchen helper. :-)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book #7 - Dark!!

Bringing Out the Dead - Joe Connelly

Dark, dark, dark!!

A two day, two night memoir of sorts of a crazy ass paramedic whose territory is Hell's Kitchen, New York City.

He sees dead people and they talk. And haunt him and follow him around. Dead people that are from calls gone wrong. 271 pages of rot gut burn out. Not for the faint of heart.

There is a movie out there, based on this book. We have it, have not watched it yet. I cannot even begin to imagine how they put this book to screen. Will report back about that, definitely.

Our pal Joe really was a medic in this neighbourhood, so this is well researched. Realistic?? God in heaven, for Joe's sake and sanity, I hope he used creative license.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A finished sweater, just in time for Texas summer

Finally finished, just in time for the 90 degree Texas summer. I actually like this pattern a lot and will make another one for the Little Guy, but next time I will make the body longer. You can see his tummy hanging out the bottom in the picture. I made it in a sport weight acrylic for ease of washing and it was inexpensive enough to practice with. I like the boxy shape and I didn't have to figure out how to shape raglan sleeves. (It think those are what the diamond shaped set in sleeves are called, mental block right now)

I know a locally owned yarn shop in the area that has a beautiful selection of organic yarn. Now that I know how this pattern knits up, I will work it in a little more expensive yarn. If I start now and apply myself, maybe I'll be done when it is cold enough to wear it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book #6

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris

A Sookie Stackhouse Novel

Yuppers, True Blood! This is the first book in the series that HBO's True Blood is based on.

Pretty cool. I see why everyone raves about True Blood. I have watched the first 3 or 4 episodes of True Blood from NetFlicks and liked them alot. The series, from what I have seen of it, follows pretty truly to the book. Who's to say it continues on like that, but I imagine it does. HBO is pretty reliably good.

I have read a few vampire books in my time and this one is quite good. I will be reading the next in the series, so that says something right there.

This leads me off on a tangent. I have to comment on Stephanie Meyers (of Twilight fame). She is not as original as one would think, after they have read about Sookie Stackhouse and her vampires. Ms. Stephanie "borrowed" a few ideas I do believe. Loosely, but similar all the same. Things that make you go hmmmmm.... But, in defense of Ms. Stephanie, she may have gotten some inspiration from Ms. Charlaine, but the Twilight books are G rated and Sookie Stackhouse is definitely not.

Ok, confession time, if it isn't obvious already, yes, I read the Twilight series, all of them. I have only seen the first movie and that will probably be the only of the movies that I will watch. Enough on that, I can save Twilight for another time. Maybe if I ever knit the Twilight mittens, I'll post a picture and devote some creative energy to a dissertation on Twilight.

So, Dead Until Dark....I will be reading book 2. That sums it up right there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book #5

Bridget Jone's Diary - Helen Fielding

Ya, I know, I'm only a decade behind the rest of the girls that have read this book, but I did finally get around to it.

I do have to confess that I did not read this book in 3 days, like it may look. I have been picking at this one for about six months, off and on and did finally finish it.

I'm not going to elaborate much, everyone should know basically about the plot, even if by just having watched the movie.

I was more interested in the parallels between the book and Pride and Prejudice, which besides that fact that the male hero's name happens to be Mark Darcy, are pretty sparse. I suppose if you think loosely and squint you may see a few similarities.

It's a clever book, all things considered. And that is all there is to say, 'cause I'm pretty sure I'm one of the last girls on the planet that have just now gotten around to reading this book.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book #4

Ambulance Girl by Jane Stern

Jane Stern from NPR's Splendid Table, Jane and Micheal Stern - Rood Food and many other foodie books has written a book about becoming an EMT at age 52ish.

She actually really did this and worked/works (I don't know if she still does?) for the volunteer Fire Dept. in her small town in Connecticut.

I loved this book for many reasons. Not the least of which is that is it really pretty damn funny. Like laugh out loud, guffaws kind of funny. It also appealed to my deep seated adrenaline junky medical personality. As the saying goes... you can take the girl out of the ICU, but you can't take the ICU out of the girl. (or something like that) I could relate to many ,many things she wrote about, from the nurse's attitudes in the ED, to the frequent flyers, to the burn out. I found it interesting that she experienced burn out in a remarkably similar way to how I did. I have never had a poll about how burn out is manifested from person to person. I don't think I want to know. I have moments of.....well.....probably shame, that I got burned out. Well, enough about that.

The book takes you through her initial classroom training, then her real life training (when the learning really begins), through a rough bout of burn out and then her reaction to 9/11. The story takes place starting about 2 years pre-9/11.

Lots of good gross out factor and morbid humor that I suppose health care providers certainly have an affinity for. And a story about a gal working herself out of a mid-life crisis of sorts by realizing she is helping and healing herself by helping others.

Recommended if you are into reading about medical stuff. I don't know what you would think of it all if you didn't have any particular interest in emergency care.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Book #3

Hmmm, it's May and I'm on book three of fifty, I think I should have aimed much lower. I'll be lucky if I finish ten at this rate.

So, Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I have a few things to say about this book.

Everyone should, by this point in time, have at least heard of the movie Julie and Julia. Cute movie about this cute twenty something gal that idolizes Julia Child and cooks her way through MtheAofFC. All the while blogging about it. Cute movie, cute girl, did I say that already??

Well, the book.... Julie Powell is neither cute nor sweet, but rather foul mouthed, self centered and bat shit crazy!! That being said, the book is really pretty funny, more about blogging than cooking. She is a good writer, witty and dry and uses cool terms like culinary plutonium and bleaders (blog readers).

This is the first time that I will ever recommend that you should see the movie prior to reading the book, if you were planning to do both. If I had read the book first I never would have watched the movie, making the assumption that the character in the movie would be as awful as the heroine in the book.

But liked the book, I laughed at it, even though Julie seems like she would be an awful, whiny, narcissistic, bully (at least to her husband, anyway), she has some redeeming likable qualities, too.

Whatever, just read it with caution...not cute or whimsical as you might think based on the book jacket. Expect an f-bomb-palooza.

BTW, I did get MtheAofFC Vol.1 and 2 for Mother's Day, look out....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing

We went to see another play this weekend. My Beloved did a review, see Theater for details. Much Ado About Nothing done contemporary, post WW2.

It was a brilliant interpretation!! The correlation between the soldiers returning home in the classic play vs the soldiers returning home after WW2. Add in all the cool retro 40's costumes and hair dos, plus singing and dancing. Someone took a great deal of time to do wonderful choreography for this play. I love it!! Man oh man, Hollywood or Broadway could do this interpretation with pizazz!! Beloved and I both said we would love to see this done by professionals.

Now, at this point I need to mention this was done by a small community theater in Bedford. These were not professional actors, singers or dancers. But, wow they pulled it off beautifully!!

I am probably the most familiar with this Shakespeare play as any of them. My Beloved played a role in Much Ado in grad school, so I saw many rehearsals and spent time running lines with him, so I know the play pretty well. It is a cute story, with lots of comedy, some mistaken identities, a costume party, a faked death, and of course it's going to end with a wedding!

A Shakespeare comedy, my favorite.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Clutterbusting, is that a word?

Well, I at least got through the little boy's toys and managed to clear out some stuff. I filled an entire Rubbermaid tub with toys and stashed it in the garage. I should hand them out one at a time in gift bags, he'll think he's died and gone to present heaven. I could certainly put away more, and probably will. I also need to go through his clothes again. Put away cold weather stuff and bring out the warm weather stuff.

Sadly, that is as far as I got. More to come, though. Maybe I can get something more done this weekend. I hope so, I still can't stand it in here, too much crap!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

So very cluttered....

I can't stand it any more, but too busy blogging to fix it. Ha ha!!

Seriously though, we have too much shit! The kids have too much shit!! And it is taking over. Plus the dog drags shit in from outside, well not literally, thank goodness, but plenty of dirt.

All the shit everywhere makes it difficult to clean.

Too many clothes, too much laundry, well, that's not exactly true. It just seems like it because we don't have a very big closet. Figuring out how to seasonally store our clothes would be helpful. It seems like the laundry never ceases because it doesn't, but I just have to accept some shit.

So, I do declare that I will conquer the clutter, one pile of shit at a time.

Starting tomorrow; I'm tired.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chai Tea

Since I am on a beverage kick, I must talk about another favorite hot beverage of mine. Chai tea. Not the Chai Tea Latte type from Barstucks, although I won't turn it down if offered, but the real deal, preferably from an Indian restaurant or made by some one's Grandmother. (should I ever be so lucky)
I do make my own, which I don't think is too shabby, if I do say so myself. I would rather it be served to me, but as my Beloved does tell me on occasion..."people in hell want ice water".
Anyway, I digress. On to the recipe, such that it is. I don't remember where I found it, I think either in Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray, some time ago.
Black loose tea
Fresh ginger
Cardamon pods
Hot water
Sugar or honey to sweeten
Peel and chop about a tablespoon of fresh ginger and crush about 6 cardamon pods. Throw them in a pot with about 2 cups of water. Boil water on the stove, add milk once the water boils. I do a 50/50 ratio. Throw in 2 or 3 teaspoons of loose tea. (I get my loose tea from an Indian import grocery store.) Turn off the heat and let steep. Don't forget to turn off the burner or it will boil over and make a huge nasty mess. I let it steep for about five minutes and then fill up the cups running the tea through a fine mesh strainer. Add sugar or honey to sweeten and there you go. Chai tea. It is not so sweet as the store bought variety and less "milky". I think has really nice flavor. It doesn't taste as good as Chaat Express, but close, without driving to Plano.
It's a good thing. Ha!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DFW theater reviews

Here is a link to DFW theater reviews, including ones written by my Beloved.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coffee Geek

I have to say the Aeropress makes the best coffee I've ever had!! I shout it to the world!! Find yourself an Aeropress if you are a serious coffee aficionado.

It's an unusual looking gadget. It looks nothing like what we expected. It is sort of like French press only different. They run around $40. I know you can get them online, and at high end cooking stores. A good friend of ours works at one of those type places and picked it up for us. The only supplies you need are little tiny round filters that sit in the bottom of the tube. I think the filters are about $5 for a package of 350. (That's alot of cups of coffee) Some are included with the gadget to start you off, of course.

I like to use whole bean coffee and a burr grinder. Our 2 favorite coffees are both from Whole Foods. The organic house blend, which is a mix of light and dark beans and the Extra Dark French Roast, which is extra dark French roasted. I grind the beans to a 3/4 espresso grind. This has been a trial and error experience. Also, notably, every time you switch up coffee beans/brands, it takes a couple of tries to get the right ratio of coffee to hot water. (I never said this wasn't somewhat labor intensive.)

You make one cup at a time and it now takes me about 4 min per cup, not counting boiling the water in the kettle.

You grind your coffee, I put 2 scoops (the kit includes the scoop) of coffee in the cylinder and this is subject to your own taste and experimentation, add the boiling water, stir the mixture whilst counting to 10 Mississippi, and then squish the mixture down with the plunger. The idea being that you are compressing the hot water through the grounds using the air pressure from the plunger. This gives you all the flavor without the bitterness of strong coffee. It is seriously great coffee. It's labor intensive; I feel the need to mention this twice. No flipping a pre-programmable switch and having coffee ready when you stumble out of bed in the morning.

I put milk with sugar in the microwave to heat while I'm plunging the coffee and then viola...

A cup o' heaven.....ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pride and Prejudice Part Two

Well, Pride and Prejudice, the play was all right. It was done by a community theater company, so it wasn't Shakespeare Dallas, but I enjoyed it.

I don't know that if you were not familiar with Pride and Prejudice that the production would have made one lick of sense, but it seemed as though the people in the audience were following and laughing in the appropriate spots. It could be they were all family and friends and have been helping run the lines for the last 2 months. was a nice night out and a change of scenery going into Fort Worth.

Hubby made an excellent point as we discussed the play on the hour long ride home. (Did I mention we live a long way from Fort Worth?) A novel really is meant to be read on paper and it doesn't really translate well onto a stage. Especially a small one. I suppose that is why the best television production of Pride and Prejudice is 5 hours long. The 1995 BBC version. I need to add watching that one again to my list of things to do.

I have a new knitting project that will take some considerable time to complete, so now that we have the TV up and running in the bedroom as well as the living room, maybe I will knit and watch. We do still have PBS Emma tivo'd that we have not watched either.

Not enough hours in the day, or days in the weekend.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pride and Prejudice

Have babysitter, will travel!!

I'm stoked!! Hubby and I have secured a babysitter are going to see a Pride and Prejudice stage play tomorrow night in Fort Worth.

He has a gig where he reviews plays in the metroplex for a friend who has a theater blog. The plays he reviews are usually Shakespeare, but this time we get to see P and P. He has taken Big Boy to a couple plays he's reviewed, and I got to go see a live telecast of The Royal Shakespeare Company preforming All's Well that Ends Well at the Angelika. I am curious as to how P and P will be pulled off.

I like Jane Austen. Hubby got me started on reading the books. He did a thesis in undergrad on Pride and Prejudice and flung the interest onto me, as well. I have seen multiple versions of movies, but never seen it done as a play.

Will report back after the performance.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Book #3, which is really #2

Ok, since I decided not to count the first book, this is really book #2.

Kill the Messenger - Tammy Hoag

I picked this up at 1/2 Price Books from the clearance section for $2 when they were having their new years 20% off sale. So, that makes this book $1.60. Not bad. It was a book club hardback, which probably explains why it was on the clearance shelf. I won't hang on to it. I'll either pass it along, yard sale or donate it. I only keep selected hardback novels.

Well, it is a pretty decent "poor dude got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time" murder mystery. It doesn't have the relationship angle that some of her books have, but it was a page turner with twists and turns and not surprisingly a surprise ending.

It was fluff, but entertaining fluff. Good beach read. Not brain brain food by any stretch of the imagination. Ya!! Just how I like it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Book #2

Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman's Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond by Deborah Laake

OMG, what a crazy book. All the Mormon stuff aside. This lady has a whole bundle of mental pathologies. Anyway, the whole premise of the book is basically Deborah Laake describing life as a Mormon woman and the expectations placed upon her. Barefoot, pregnant and submissive. She didn't fit the mold plus had horrible clinical depression to boot. So, three marriages and a couple mental hospitals later the book wraps up.

It was ok. I am morbidly fascinated with LDS, so I chewed right through it. If you are interested in LDS, this talks about the underwear at the very least.

So, onward and upward. I currently have 2 more books in progress.

Friday, January 29, 2010

First book, does it count?

Blah, this one doesn't really count, I started it, then skimmed it, and didn't actually read the whole thing.

Shop, Save, Share by Ellie Kay

It was kinda out of date. Published in 1998. It is basically a book about using coupons, but it is written pretty much pre-cyberspace and doesn't include the many resources that are available online. It was kinda cute/funny in parts in a hokey sort of way, but there was no new information for me. I should have known better anyway, I've read enough of these types of books already.

I'm not counting this one, that would be cheating. I have to actually read the whole book.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

50 Books

I have a plan for this year, after seeing it on on someone else's blog. I can't claim credit for it being my original idea. But, it's not some earth shattering revelation at any rate.

I love to read and I have never really paid attention to how much I read. Well, this year I am going to track my reading. I would like to read 50 books this year. I have know idea if I can do that. I think that I would read that many, easy. Maybe not. If I am really motivated by a particularly good book, I am going to try to do a mini review. At the very least I am going to try and blog my progress.We'll see how it goes. On your mark, get set, go......

My New Blog

Ok, so I decided that simply living is a joke in my world. So, poof, new blog. Not that I was strictly limited to blogging about coupons before, but now I feel like I can put down whatever content I want. Besides, I'm so sorry that I don't want to be pigeon holed into the extreme right of the world with the rest of the frugalista stay at home, home schooling Mommys out there. Call me crazy.

I am going to copy and paste one of the last posts from my old blog. And that is where this begins.....