We had rain and hail and wind today. But I got lucky enough to have my walk, with Cookie of course, in total sunshine...4 whole miles! I was going to get into the garden again, but that rain/hail/wind stopped me so I puttered around the house, instead.
Boring post, but posted! I'll do better tomorrow...
I have only recently become a fangirl of the Big Bang Theory. The writing is so funny and clever and smart. I love the science humor, the immigrant humor, the nerdiness. Buzzinga!
You be the judge:
Sunday is a favorite day for me. It is usually my laziest day of the week...mostly because we are delivered of TWO big Sunday papers: The Oregonian and the New York Times.
I don't often go to church anymore, but John said that this new series that our pastors were doing on Answers for Atheists (or something like that) was very thought-provoking. And he knows that what I am most interested in is to have my brain poked...to be made to think. And this sermon did do that.
One thing that hit home: He said that we are all hypocrites: we profess values but we don't always live up to them. True, true. None are perfect. I am totally guilty of getting angry because someone tailgates me, or because something doesn't go the way that I expect or any number of other things.
Then I realized that I hold others to the perfection standard. When they fall short, I get so disappointed. And today's sermon made me realize that I fall short, too, and I'm sure that I disappoint my fair share of people. Humbling, actually. Oh, I am so often humbled...
I have been horribly remiss about blogging...I was hijacked by Facebook and I have joined the 2010 WordCount Blogathon to get myself back on the road to blogging fun.
Facebook has helped me to connect with friends and family, which is great. It has also helped me sometimes see a little too far into the character of some of them, which is disastrous. I have been particularly saddened when a friend or relative has seen fit to personally attack another person's character because of disagreements on political points. Is this really necessary? I would beg to argue that it is NOT.
So, back to blogging for me...
I headed out to the Alameda neighborhood of Portland, as a favor to my future DIL, Priya. She found a cute little swimwear store online. Their physical store is in NE Portland and is called Popina. Check them out here.
I got the blue and brown, polka-dotted, suit that Priya wanted. I also found a really cute lime green (with floral print) suit for ME! The store was full of really cute suits, and coverups, and flip-flops...
Then, as I needed lunch, I found a cute little coffee shop called Caffe Destino at NE 13th and Fremont. I had some good vegetarian chili for lunch, and tried their coffee of the day, which was a Cafe Creme Brulee. Really yummy on both counts.
Add this to a perfect, sunshine-y day (when rain had been predicted), and it made for a nice field trip into town.
I read in the newspaper this morning that Americans' vocabularies are shrinking and it is affecting cookbook writers. Apparently, we are no longer able to discern what it means to dredge, to saute, to fold in, to cream something, etc. Amazing.
I read a lot, so that is probably where I attained my vocabulary, AND I love words (hence my daily e-mail from dictionary.com). I am saddened by the thought that people are so badly in need of English lessons AND cooking lessons that they cannot comprehend what is written in a recipe book from the 60's.
I'm sure I learned all those things from my mom, who cooked ALOT...a given, since she had 10 kids. And my mother was a very good cook and a very good teacher.
I love to cook. My favorite recipe source is The New Best Recipe, by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated (my favorite cooking magazine). I love how they have analyzed every recipe, taking into account the Chemistry of cooking, and find the best way to prepare everything. I have not had one single 'failure' when using these recipes. In fact, they are so good that I am loathe to try anyone else's.
So, I've wandered all around cooking and vocabulary. But what the hay...it's my blog and I'll say what I want! I know I haven't made a cogent argument. I'm not actually that GOOD at arguing, anyway. Maybe I should read a book on debating....
"And now let us welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been." --Rilke
I just love that quote. It exactly matches the way I feel about 2010. It makes me think of the wonders that are to come. The contentment that I will feel when I spend time with my husband and kids, the people I love the most in the whole world; the special spark I will feel on 2010's holidays (often so full of magic for me); the beauty of the seasons as they burst upon us; and the certain happiness I will feel knowing that ALL of my children finally share the same continent with me.
I wish that I could be like Janus, the Roman god...not having two faces, but his mythical ability to see both into the past and into the future. Though I like surprises, I would also like to have a glimpse into what is yet to be. Would I like what I see? That is the danger, isn't it?
Here's to a Happy, Happy New Year and a wonderful decade!
Last night, we were celebrating the homecoming of Adam AND Bonnie from their far-away abodes...which of course meant having dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant in the Pearl, Sinju. We got there early enough (and promised we wouldn't linger), so they gave us a tatami room. These little rooms have windows out onto the street where the light rail trains go by, giving a glimpse into the Portland night. It's like having a television in the background, which you only occasionally glance at.
I had my back to the window but Bonnie and Adam were directly facing it and noticed that there were many of our cityfolk dressed as Santas, either walking in groups up the street or on the MAX (always heading north). Bonnie found it very strange but I found it enchanting.
It reminded me of a movie riff... I could imagine a story where people like us would don Santa hats and follow the (certainly) partygo-ers to their holiday bash and find a fun new crowd to hang with....with hilarity to ensue. What a delightful reminder of the Season.
We then went to see the new George Clooney movie, Up In The Air, which was WONDERFUL. Adam and Bonnie ranked George SMUG on the question of 'smug' or 'charming'. True, but the movie was excellent...funny but a sad reminder of the tough times we are suffering in this recession. The acting was wonderful, especially that of Anna Kendrick, who played Natalie, George's young protege. She was wonderful and I can't wait to see where she goes from here.
Her Fearful Symmetry
The dust jacket says:
“An unnerving, unforgettable, and enchating ghost story, a novel about love and identity, secrets and sisterhood and the tenacity of life—even after death.” I must vehemently disagree.
I have to say that I absolutely LOVED the first two-thirds of this book. I found all the characters engaging, to various degrees. I read with anticipation, waiting to see where the story led me.
Then the novel suddenly turned one-hundred-and-eighty-degrees and became a ghoulish nightmare, where many of the characters were not the quirky-but-nice folks that I thought they were. They were cruel, selfish, uncaring monsters.
SPOILER ALERT: plot points exposed…
A mother who gives up her children at nine months old and walks away, never to have anything to do with them (while she is alive) again.
A twin who wants to separate herself from her sister but who is too emotionally weak that she cannot, kills herself…never thinking of the pain she will cause her family. Never ONCE thinking of anyone but herself.
A mother who helps her daughter to kill herself and then ghoulishly takes her body so that she can live again.
A man that realizes that his ex-lover has participated in the daughter’s death and taken her body, but that lives with her again anyway.
A couple that have deceived each other, and their children, with unforgiveable lies.
This was NOT the enchanting, quirky, romantic book that The Time Traveler’s Wife was, this is a horror novel. I HATE horror novels, movies, whatever…
I wish I had been forewarned, as I would never have read this book. And now, I’m actually sorry that I did.
Audrey Niffenigger, I am so disappointed. I will no longer automatically read whatever it is you write.
Horrible. Horrible. Horrible.
Bonnie is busy with her Law School applications. She is very frustrated by the process by which the LSAC (the organization that submits all apps for you) is operated. Can't say as I blame her...
So she has these funny/related comments on her Gchat:
Getting closer! I defy your diabolical antics, LSAC, by actually completing
I think my month's salary is going to go to law school apps. Law school wants
you to get used to bleeding money early on.
I am a book addict. I know it. If you know me, you know it. I seem to always have 10 things checked out at the library, but that doesn't stop me from picking up something new at Costco if it is just too irresistible to me. And then there's Inter-Library Loan. It's an ENABLER!
I recently read The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman. This wonderful little gem was about a young woman from 1599 England, kidnapped by corsairs near Constantinople and sold into a harem. I adored the intelligent writing, the history, the complete ability of the author to make me feel the very suffocating isolation of the women's quarters at the Topkapi Palace. Enabler!
So, of course, I had to know if Ms. Hickman had written anything else. She had. In 1992, she published The Quetzel Summer. I looked at my library's website. Nope. No Quetzel Summer there. Amazon? Nope, only a couple of used copies and those were over $20 each for an old paperback. So, I turned to Inter-Library Loan. Searching their website, I found that there was only one copy on file in the country...at the University of North Carolina. So, I asked for it and voila! Today it arrived. So, I now have about 5 books that I am reading. Check out the sidebar where it says: What is she reading?
She is reading:
So many wonderful worlds to enter, so little time!
I just finished The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. The protagonist is a grad student in Early American History (as is Howe), who ends up being descended from a woman tried as a Salem witch (as is Howe). Hmmmm....
I enjoyed the mystery that was the heart of this book, but I had it figured out well in advance of our heroine. She was searching for Deliverance Dane, whose name she found in key in her Grandmother's house. (Spoiler alert...) Deliverance Dane's daughter was named Mercy, Mercy's daughter was named Prudence, then came Patience, then Temperance. And the heroine's mom is Grace, her grandmother is Sophia, and her name is Connie (which I quite readily figured out came from Constance). And all these women had only one single child...always a daughter. She was an only child, as was her mom, as was her grandmother. Yet it took her forever to glean that this Deliverance Dane that she was searching for was her own ancestor. Connie goes to Harvard, for God's sake...I thought you had to be smart to go there.
Anyway, besides THAT little bit of silliness, I did enjoy this book. There was a little more flowery description than I care for, causing me to do a bit of skimming. But the story was ultimately interesting and satisfying. I learned some history, too...always a plus. I expect some other interesting novels to come from this author.
Walking Cookie up and down my beautiful little lane, I noticed the first horse chestnuts lying in the road, in their spiky, lime-green skins. The days have cooled down; the nights are downright chilly. The garden is still chalkfull of various blooming plants: the lantern-like fuschias, the burnt orange mums, pink and orange roses, the bright green orb-shaped leaves and pumpkin orange nasturtiums, frothy pink heads of sedum, and so many more.
I sit for hours on the sun-drenched deck, reading and napping. Recovering from my surgery in the glow of that lovely garden. Cookie and Biscuit nap nearby. My favorite squirrel is playing clown for me in the trees, sometimes scolding the neighbor's dog for getting too uppity. Fall is here. She snuck in with the autumnal equinox on Sept 22nd. I wasn't quite ready for her, I thought. But Summer could be harsh and hot, and I welcomed lovely Autumn.
Ross goes back to school today. He just spent the last days of his summer with his sister in Japan, and arrived, jet-lagged, this morning. We send him off and settle ourselves in to a quiet fall, when we will pull everything together for a joyous early-winter, when the kids and Christmas will burst upon us and exhaust and delight us.
Welcome, Lady Autumn...
On Thursday, we flew to Boston to go to my nephew, Alex's, wedding. I was invited to a Bride's Luncheon by the bride's mom. It was a fun event at a restaurant on Harvard Square. Nice and intimate, we go to visit alot and really relaxed with each other.
The next day was the wedding. Boston was HOT and HUMID! But we managed to get through. Adam and Ross looked incredibly handsome in their shirts and ties, but really didn't like all the dressing up required. The reception was held at the same venue where John F Kennedy announced his decision to run for President. How cool is that?
I love this photo that John took of Adam and Ross and I...well, except the the squidgy eyes that now show themselves in all of my photos...is this what getting old is all about? Squidgy eyes? Really?
It was so hot that they had Japanese fans for us in the pews. Ross was using one even BEFORE the wedding. The bride, Ashley, had spent a year in Japan in High School and her host family came all the way from Kyoto.
Adam had cool green sunglasses (with checkerboard side rims). All my men in one photo! Too bad we were missing Bonnie. And we did miss her.
The groom wore a kilt, as any good Scottish descendent would, of course.
The next day (today, Sunday), there was a wonderful brunch at Legal Seafood, on Harvard Square. Adam and Ross sat at the kids' table. Here they are with their cousin, Betsy...sister of the groom. Don't Betsy and Ross look alike?
Betsy's boyfriend, Abraham, was such a doll. Funny, handsome, and really charming! They make a great couple.
John and his brother, Alan (father of the groom), don't get to see each other often. So, it was a wonderful chance for them to catch-up.
John's mom, Jean, flew all the way across country with us. She's 95 and she was so glad she came.
We left the brunch, dropped Adam and Ross at the airport and headed north to New Hampshire to spend a night on Lake Winnipesaukee. As soon as we crossed the state line into New Hampshire, the rain started to fall...and has fallen (hard) for a good deal of the afternoon and evening.
We visit our friends, Ray and Shannon, for the rest of our week in Vermont...starting tomorrow. Oh, the mojitos are calling to me already!
More photos processed from the Oregon Garden. Gorgeous!
One of my favorite things was the Hobbit Hole in the Children's Garden. They put a piece of plastic pipe down, covered it with soil, planted the hill they made with grass and plants, and put a little round wooden door with window cutouts on each side. How clever and how jealous I was that I did not have one of these when I was a kid!
They also made a Couple out of plant pots and gave them plant hair. Awesome.
I processed one of the waterlily photos to look like they were nightlights!
The orange flowers are Tithonia, which I keep meaning to put in my garden. I have only seen the seed packets, though, and growing most things from seed seems like much too much work!
...that is the name of my fave photo from yesterday's jaunt out into the Oregon countryside just south of Salem. I went to Stayton to find a plant (a Caryopteris) at a nursery out there. Luckily, I had my camera along and I found some gorgeous things to photograph. As you can tell, I love to process my pictures so that have that wonderful, color-drenched look...incredibly bright and warm.
Also, note the photo of the whirlwind in the bare field. There were several of these things out there yesterday...kind of spooky-looking...
I had my yearly mammogram today. Oh, the joy of being compressed beneath a plastic plate. Oh yes, crank it down 'just' a little bit further. Now, to hold my breath for just a few seconds...
I found out last year that I had this thing called a 'hamartoma' in my breast. It is a benign tumor that is very rare. Of the tumors found in the breast, only 0.7% of them are hamartomas. Yay for me for being somewhat unique. The problem is that it continues to grow and it is making me lopsided, so to speak. So, next week I go to see the surgeon and figure out when I can get it out of there!