Friday, November 28, 2008

Day after Thanksgiving thoughts.

For the first time in years I saw gas for $1.47 per gallon.

I saw cars in the White Castle drive-thru on Thanksgiving night.

My brother Wes ate pizza sauce for lunch the other day because he'd been told it was chili.

Thanksgiving this year happened to fall on the two-year anniversary of Jeremy and I's first introduction.

One of the sweetest, cutest, funniest things I've seen is my 3 1/2 year old nephew "reading" Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. On the last page Calvin says, "Chulren, chulren, whadoyousee?" Then he turned the page (which part of it is ripped out) and instead of reciting the litany of colored animals the "chulren" see, Calvin just says, "The end." And the question is left hanging. Oh, but the reading just makes your heart smile.

It's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm alone in my apartment with no place to go and nothing much to do and I'm fighting the urge to go out shopping just because it's something to do.

I had pie and coffee for of my favorite meals!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Observation on the road...

As I was driving home from dropping Jeremy off at work, I decided to stop in at Kroger--they had a few good sales I didn't want to miss out on. The nearest Kroger is kind of ghetto which surprises me because I don't think that part of the city is exactly ghetto; although that strip has Big Lots, Dollar Tree, Tuesday Morning, and other discount stores. Many of the people who shop there seem to lack some normal social graces.
Anyway, that's not really what my little anecdote is about. As I was leaving Kroger, I stopped behind a pink and white striped pick-up truck. If the color wasn't bad enough (and a little rusty), the top of the wind shield said in pink letters, Baby Doll. The woman driving the truck didn't exactly look to be the kind you'd call Baby Doll.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Although somehow I'd hoped to tackle a few more books this fall, I have read several interesting books. I'm currently mostly on a non-fiction kick. The occasional fiction book will surprise me, but still I gravitate towards the non-fiction.
Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-TouristThe Lost Cosmonaut is the anti-tourist tales of Daniel Kalder. This Scottish-born writer travels through 4 regions of Eastern Europe: Tatarstan, Kalmykia, Mari El, and Udmurtia. These little known countries are grim places and Kalder seeks out the grimness. His accounts can be somewhat amusing, but I often found him taking tangents (movie ideas, day-dreams, etc.) that seemed to distract from the already somewhat disjointed narrative. He writes with a sense of humor, which I enjoy, but he also unnecessarily throws in language. I did learn some interesting facts about countries I more than likely would never have heard of without reading this book. So, if you can put aside some of the idiosyncrasies of Kalder's writing style, there are facts to be learned.

Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally Plenty is the year-long local eating adventures of Alisa Smith and James Mackinnon. This Vancouver couple decided to spend a year eating only food from within a 100-mile radius of their home. Broken up into 12 chapters--each for a month of the year--the two authors alternate chronicling that month's eating. Their search for local food took them to previously unknown farms and fish markets. Potatoes are their staple food. Wheat their most desired food to find within a 100-miles. This book was a delightful, quick read filled with insights about our eating habits. It didn't inspire me to eat only local food, but is just another encouragement to consider what we're eating. I'd definitely recommend this, especially to those who enjoy food writing and thought.
Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel is the literary biography of L.M. Montgomery. Gammel takes the approach of chronicling the author's life as mirrored through her writing of Anne of Green Gables. According to Gammel, Montgomery has been a literary enigma. She kept journals, but destroyed some and rewrote many, editing them for publication, therefore, choosing what details the public would know about here. Through much research, Gammel presents a Montgomery through different eyes. I enjoyed seeing the writing process of Anne and how Montgomery's life played into the process, but I did feel that the book was a little repetitious as certain points were brought up throughout the entire book (like the photograph of Evelyn Nesbit, but model who apparently inspired the face of Anne). But, if you are a fan of Anne, then you'd probably enjoy reading about the strange woman who created such a charming character.
Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in ChinaOn a whim, I picked up Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper from the library and I was pleasantly surprised. Fuchsia Dunlop is a Chinese food writer and this is the story of how she fell in love with Chinese cookery and became an advocate of it through writing. In 1992, Dunlop was a British journalist traveling to Sichuan to study Chinese culture and politics for a year. After a couple months of study, she quit her classes and immersed herself in food, deciding she would eat anything put in front of her (and she does! goose intestines, shark's fin, chicken feet, snakes blood, pig kidneys). She visited with street vendors and restaurant owners and even worked herself into being allowed in kitchens. The following year, she enrolled in the Sichuan cooking school and became the first Westerner to study there. China was still ambivalent about foreigners, especially women, so throughout her travels Dunlop puts up with a lot of scrutiny especially as she ventured into closed regions of the country. This is a most fascinating read and I learned much about Chinese cooking and history. My one caution is: don't read it if you're squeamish about what people eat, because this book has it all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just staying in touch...

Well, I was going to participate in Alaina's Keeping Creative Kitchens today, but as I've never done my own Thanksgiving food at all, I don't think I have anything to share. Plus, she shared our most creative tradition of writing thanksgivings on paper feathers. So, nothing from me for now.

I've been a bit under the weather this week with a draining cold bug. Hopefully I'm on the mend.

You know how I joked with some of you that I was moving to Siberia because of the cold, snowy winters? I'm not a novice at winters, but most of them are fairly mild. Not here. Already this week (remember this is just the middle of November) this city has had close to two inches of snow and we are currently under a Lake Effect Snow Advisory until tomorrow afternoon. What is this? I'm going to have to re-learn winter, I believe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Some apartment pictures

I'm sitting at Panera with my computer that has most of my photos on it, so I thought I'd post a quick blog with pictures of the apartment, as well as pictures of THE bookcase. Pardon the stacked boxes, I took the photos back in September. The place looks largely the same, but I have had more time in it to bring order.

Our Kitchen
Our Living Room
The "Office" Area We Created With the Bookcase

THE Bookcase (as seen from the front door)

My Kid's Books

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Some wedding pictures

We received a disc of wedding photos last week and I thought I'd post a few for your viewing pleasure. We really enjoyed working with J M Studios and appreciated their artistic bent.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is it a bad sign...

if your local paper has only one page of job ads?

Timing Fluke

I didn't plan well my timing on changing my name and address and by extension became an irresponsible citizen. I couldn't vote. My registration was too close to election day and wasn't processed in time. If only I'd thought through those sorts of ramifications.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Heavy-footed Upstairs Neighbors

When the people walk upstairs:
My screen door rattles.
My walls shake.
My ceiling creaks.

We can't figure out what's going on. Surely normal living and walking isn't so disrupting! I sincerely hope our to and fro is not so disrupting to the folks below us.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The View From Inside

Outside my deck door there is a deep yellow-leafed tree. Out my kitchen window, there is an orange/yellow-leafed tree. Autumn surrounds me in my cozy apartment and I love it.

Jer and I decided to get a carport for the winter months. As I've never actually lived here in the winter, it's only here say for me, that the winter's can be rough--very, very snowy. Lake effect snow.

Friday being the last day of October (Halloween by most people's standards...I've never really celebrated it), I decided to put on a pot of potato soup for supper and work on making some special treats for us. Smells of homemade caramel corn, caramel apples, and homemade cocoa permeated the house. As I worked away that afternoon, I glanced out my kitchen window and noticed a young mom photographing her daughter (I'd put her around 6 months). First the mom had her out there sitting in the leaves under my pretty orange tree. Then, she dressed the girl in a white bunny outfit--her first Halloween. Little bunny was having more fun playing with the leaves and touching the pumpkin her mom had brought along for a prop. I continued about my cooking, thinking it was cute and just a little ridiculous watching this mom (seriously, she took a ton of photos!) try to capture her daughter looking at the camera. Nevertheless, this didn't keep me from spying on them (don't worry, they couldn't see me, I live on the second floor). Several minutes passed and when I glanced back out the window, there were orange spots marking the white bunny suit. With disgust barely masked, the mom peeled the bunny suit off her daughter and held it away from herself. Here she was just trying to get pictures before the evening and her daughter vomited on the costume. I'm sure that was really just one of many disgruntled mom moments.

Tomorrow Jeremy has a staff meeting and it's his turn to bring the snacks, which means, of course, that I'm making them. He requested no-bake cookies and chocolate chip cookies. So, that's what I've been working on this afternoon. To those we're adding leftover caramel corn, Coke, and just for good measure, carrots & dip. :)
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