Monthly Archives: September 2009

BOOKISH WEDNESDAY

I am nearly finished reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.  The book is published by appropriately named Quirk Books and is a Quirk Classic.

This is taken from the back cover:

“‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.’

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes and bone-crunching zombie mayhem.  As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton — and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennett is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.  What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the young lovers–and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield.  Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan?  And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.”

It is campy and fun and gruesome all at the same time, and I am enjoying reading it. If you are a Heroes fan, in the first episode of the new season titled Orientation, the professor administering the AP mathematics test at Claire’s college is shown reading this book.


Momentary Few Words

Ah, Bookish Wednesday has not existed of late.  The reason — more deviation from my reading list and not finishing books to write about by Wednesday….

I never did read the final Harry Potter book, and so I have spent the last couple of weeks re-reading HP and the Half-Blood Prince before tackling HP and the Deathly Hallows.  It has been my routine to re-read the last book in the series before the new one if there has been much time passed between books.  I was glad to finish the series.  Glad to find out what really happened in the end.  If you still haven’t read it, I will not spoil it for you.

Today I just finished The Road to Woodstock by Michael Lang.  I had watched a recent documentary called Woodstock Then and Now which was on one of the cable stations around the 40th anniversary of the festival. I was nearly 15 when Woodstock occurred. If I had not lived in the middle of the Midwest and had more liberal parents, I believe I would have been there.  Anyway, if you are a Woodstock fan, read the book.  I found all the background on how Lang managed to pull off such a huge event fascinating reading.  He may not have become wealthy from the event, but his name will be long remembered.

I spoke with the fashionista over the weekend.  She is doing well in her nanny job and likes being on the East Coast.  She plans to come home over Christmas for about a week.  It will be good to see her then. 

The temperatures are supposed to be cooler here this week, so I laundered sweaters and other fall clothing yesterday.  Ironed everything that needed to be ironed.  Packed up some clothing I know I won’t ever wear to take for the clothes closet donation box at church.  I have a pair of pants that need to be re-hemmed, a skirt seam to mend, and jacket sleeves to shorten.  I hope to get that done some evening this week.

I spent some time in the kitchen over the weekend after restocking the bare fridge and pantry.  I baked a casserole with ricotta, orzo, basil, fresh spinach, fresh diced tomatoes and sliced zucchini and sliced yellow squash.  Yummy it is!  And I cooked a large pot of potato soup and divided it out into containers.  I bought a package of frozen potato and onion pierogies that I plan to cook and serve with sauteed cabbage. When I ventured out to the back garden to pick some basil for the casserole, I noticed that I finally have a few tomatoes — I picked two nice yellow tomatoes and two red ones.  Of course my plants start producing now that summer is nearly over!  I need to pick and freeze sage for the winter.  I planted basil and rosemary and a start of thyme in pots on my kitchen windowsill.

I took the pug yesterday to have her nails trimmed and ground and her ears cleaned out.  Then we went for a walk in the park.


Finally Finished a Book

I finally finished another book that was on my summer reading list.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett is an excellent book.  The story is told through three main characters:  Skeeter Phelan, a young white college graduate who still lives with her parents on their cotton farm; Aibeleen, a black maid who works for Skeeter’s friend Elizabeth Leefolt; and Minny, a black maid who has a reputation for being “sassy” which has gotten her fired 19 times in the same town.  The book is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s during the height of the civil rights tensions.  The murder of Medger Evers and other historical events are included in the book.  Skeeter wants to be taken seriously as a writer, and she begins to notice things about how domestic help is treated in her own home and that of her friends.  Skeeter, through a series of events, sets out to write a book in which black maids tell the stories of working for white families.  The project must be kept very secret and with the reluctant help of Aibeleen and Minny, the book gets started. 

This book held my attention and it was hard to put it down when I had to do other things.  I found my heart skipping a beat when Skeeter is stopped while driving to the “colored” side of town to meet with Aibeleen; when she leaves the satchel containing the pages of the book and her friend Hilly picks it up and looks through part of it; when Aibeleen goes out on a limb to help Minny get another job — there are many instances when I found myself holding my breath as I read on to find out what happens next.

I encourage you to read it if you have the opportunity to do so.


My Talented Mother

Here are photos of three pieces of artwork from my mother’s high school days in the 1950s:

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And she has improved over the years.  There are times I wish I had inherited her abilities.


Monday of Fun Labor

This has been a good weekend.  Saturday morning I met my mother at the art museum.  There was an exhibit of Mexican art I wanted to see, and it was the last weekend.  She found out that there was a new Maxfield Parrish exhibit and she was thrilled about that, so we had a lovely morning.  The Mexican exhibit consisted of pottery from 1500 to 300 BC, weavings from later periods and paintings and embroidery.  Two Diego Rivera paintings were included.  The Maxfield Parrish exhibit was excellent.  I took a photo of the Chihuly chandelier in the museum.  I find Chihuly’s art glass fascinating.  I wish I had a better photograph or had gotten closer.

Chihuly art glass

Chihuly art glass

 After a cup of tomato bisque and a salad at the museum, I headed over to a local store that sells coffees, teas, and assorted things.  I bought two Chinese loose leaf and bud teas — an organic Bi Luo green tea and Wu Yi oolong.  I brewed a cup of the oolong later in the day and there is no substitute for excellent tea.

This morning I took the pug and went over to Riverside Park.  It has been a lovely cool morning here and we saw people unloading grills and picnic items preparing to spend the day.  There were people in canoes and kayaks on the river.  I took a photo of one of my favorite items in the park — the aluminum lily pads.  They are fountains and at night they are lit and I just love them.

Lily pads at Riverside

Lily pads at Riverside

I generally walk the pug at a different park — in fact we were there yesterday afternoon.  And watched the remote control boat races for a bit.  But I think we will try to walk at a few other parks instead of going to the same one all the time.

Today I am just doing some odds and ends.  Decorating for fall.  Organizing knitting projects.  Baking butterscotch spice cookies.  I planted some kitchen herbs and put them in the kitchen windowsill so I have fresh herbs year round.  I chopped up tomatoes and sliced basil for bruschetta.  I baked a lovely tomato pie for lunch.  Stopped at the store for bananas and cantaloupe.  So today will be a combination of chores and pleasurable tasks.  I love days like this.  No schedule to adhere to — I can do as much or as little as I like.


FALL – LIKE TUESDAY in ICT

The weather lately has been rather like autumn.  Very cool evenings and mornings, and daytime temps only getting up to the upper 70s and low 80s.  I could definitely get used to this.  Today is much the same.

I have noticed, however, that I have to keep an eye on the pug when I let her out in the mornings to potty.  The grass is wet with dew and she doesn’t like to get her feet wet, so she runs along the sidewalk trying to decide what to do.  It took me a morning or two to catch on — I was finding puddles in the kitchen when I got out of the shower.  If I stand at the door and watch her, then she eventually goes out onto the grass because she knows I will not let her back in until she goes potty.  Dratted dog — I keep trying to stay a step ahead of her.

I had a nice birthday last Friday.  Went to lunch with two coworkers to a new Mexican restaurant — Jose Peppers.  Their chips and salsa were good.  I had a grilled Mahi taco with black beans and no rice and it was very good.  I will eat fish and seafood on occasions when the vegetarian alternatives are either non-existent or just don’t suit my mood.  And I love fish tacos — good fish tacos, that is.  Not the OTB fish tacos that are laden with fat and calories.

I took the afternoon off and went home and puttered around the house.  Spent some time outside with the pug.  Got my laundry done — and IRONED!  I am feeling rather accomplished about that.  I actually finished all my ironing — and nope, I didn’t just throw everything out.  I did set aside about 6 items to donate, though.  I figure if I have not worn it in 2 years, I don’t miss it and will not likely wear it.  So, for the first time in probably 2 years, I can see the bottom of my laundry basket.

Then I made myself some bruschetta, fed the beasts, and headed to Old Town for Final Friday.  Met my friend in front of CityArts, and we chatted a bit and then headed to various galleries to look at the exhibitions.  Saw some great ceramics by local college students.  She took me to a wine bar for a birthday drink.  I had a wine called Pinot Evil Pinot Noir — I do like Pinot Noir, but I chose it because of the name, of course.  It turned out to be a nice wine.  She had a Chilean red that had overtones of dark chocolate and raspberry.  I was looking over the wine list as we visited and found a wine, and I can’t remember the name of it, that was listed as “red currant and cigar smoke.”  I don’t think I’ve ever had a wine infused with cigar smoke — not sure why anyone would want it.  We were talking about good fish tacos, so she ordered a tapas of tuna tartare tacos.  Four little fried flour tacos of tuna tartare.  I asked our server how they make their tuna tartare and it is thinly sliced tuna marinated in citrus — most likely lime and lemon and a few spices.  They were very good.  All in all, a lovely evening out.

Saturday I stayed home and worked around the house and on various projects.  A young woman at my church is going to Africa in January and she has a benefit concert and art auction/sale scheduled for late October.  I have knitted her children sweaters when they were born, and have knitted her a couple of scarves.  She loves and appreciates my handknits.  So I spoke with her, and I am going to knit a scarf out of the recycled sari silk yarn in my stash and bead it for her benefit.  That will be fun.

Sunday late afternoon was a family birthday gathering at my mother’s.  She served peach cobbler — it was very good.  I got some tea related items and gift cards.  I want to buy new bathroom towels, so I got a couple of gift cards that I plan to use for those.

My church has a “fall roundup” event each year at CowTown — one of those kitschy old west venues.  After I left my mother’s I stopped in there and mingled for a bit.  The weather was great and I chatted with lots of people I know.  Wagon rides and games for the kids, live music, free barbecue and beverages, and potluck side dishes provided by the attendees. 

Then it was time to go home and prepare for another work week.  I am looking forward to a three day weekend.