Monday, November 29, 2010

I seem to have blog block, but I don't want this little page to feel neglected. So, bits:

1) Went home for Thanksgiving. It was very nice aside from the allergy attack I always get around the family dogs. I love animals but am allergic to most of them. Fortunately, my mother doesn't have one (we stayed at her place). The food was delicious; we had vegetarian shepherd's pie, which I made, plus mac & cheese, roasted butternut squash, hummus pizza and sundry other goodies. My sister's peanut butter cookies are always a smash hit.

2) Books. I just finished the first two books in the Someday Quilts mystery series. They have almost tempted me to make a quilt, but it seems more complicated and time-consuming than knitting. Maybe someday. I like the series, the first book was stronger than the second, but I have a feeling the third one will be great (I picked it up accidentally when I was looking for the second one, and was impressed).

3) Knitting. Here is a picture of a scarf I finished recently.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's kind of scary. I've always prided myself on having a good memory, but it's starting to slip. A Facebook friend posted the video for Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey." I used to like this song, but I had completely forgotten it.

And today, I was walking past a building with D and E and said, "That used to be an expensive grocery store, what was it called?" and D said, "Balducci's." In our relationship, I have always been the "memory one."

But after thinking about it, I decided not to worry. Who wants to remember everything, anyway? It's more relaxing this way.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm getting into the holiday spirit this year. I bought my niece's birthday presents (her birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year). It was funny, the cashier said, "I can tell your favorite color is purple," and I said, "Actually, it's for my niece." But it's true, purple is becoming my favorite color.

For once, I'm not too stressed about gifts. I made some, figured out what I will buy for others, and only have one question mark. I'll enlist D's help picking something out for that person.

I'm looking forward to the food, too...pumpkin pie, vegetarian shepherd's pie, and squash.

What are you looking forward to on Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Friday, November 19, 2010

You know, I think Facebook is killing Blogger. Most of the people who were blogging when I started have stopped. But I am going to try to hang in here. So, in honor of all you bloggers who may or may not be reading, here is a recipe:

Black Bean Chili (from Vegetarian Times)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch scallions
10-oz bag frozen sweet corn
salt to taste
roasted garlic salsa (I highly recommend Trader Joe's brand. It is good enough to eat out of the jar.)

Combine the beans, scallions and salsa in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the cover, add the salt and corn, and cook until heated through.

You can sprinkle shredded Monterey Jack on top if you want.

Very easy and very good.

Right now I'm reading my first Aunt Dimity book. It's a mystery series, set in England, and quite cozy. I like it, although it is slightly slow-paced.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm going to talk a bit about food. I'm about to head out for lunch with D - MIL has the baby - and I love some of the offerings at this place. They have some sandwiches that are permanent; others are seasonal. One of the seasonal ones is called "Thanksgiving leftovers" (even though Thanksgiving hasn't happened yet). It consists of Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, cranberry sauce, and Tofurkey on bread. I never had Tofurkey before, but it's actually better than turkey. And I love Brussels sprouts. I know, that might be unusual. And this place also has excellent cupcakes. So I'm looking forward to that.

I'm reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I thought it might be bleak and depressing, but I'm enjoying it. It's about a dystopian world, but he's not dwelling too heavily on that aspect. I like how he writes about seemingly small things and finds meaning in them.

And finally...I really hate gift-giving occasions, like the holidays. That is, I like other things about the holidays, like seeing your family, and food. But I'm not big on gifts. I get stressed out picking them. It's really hard to figure out what someone else will like, and chances are they have it already. Every once in a while something jumps out at me and makes me think of a particular person. That's when I have the most success buying a present. But you can't count on it happening, and sometimes it happens at the wrong time. I found the perfect present for D about a week after his birthday. Fortunately, I waited for it, and got it then.

Which leads me to...I know there's a book out there about the 5 languages of love. I read about it on a blog and then I skimmed it online. The basic idea is that every person needs one of these things in order to feel loved: gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time or physical touch. I'm "acts of service" with maybe a dash of "words of affirmation." It puzzles me when people are "gifts." A friend of ours, his girlfriend is like he bought her diamond earrings. He said you could really tell that she liked them and they were meaningful to her. I don't know, diamond earrings would be pretty meaningless to me. It's more meaningful to me when someone is there for me, when I know I can rely on them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So I got word today that E has two preschool interviews - one is reassuringly called a "family meeting." Apparently, in the crazy world that is NYC preschool admissions, the children are admitted at least partially based on the parents.

He also has a play date scheduled, probably to see how well he plays with others. I was impressed at the playground recently - another child was playing with his favorite clock dial and E waited his turn. When it was his turn, he shared the dial with another toddler.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

So D and I had a "date night." I have always cringed at this phrase, but in practice it's a nice break from the routine, though I always miss E when we have one. This time we tried a restaurant we had never been to before. The interior space was huge, including an indoor garden with a skylight, trees draped with fairy lights, and a random deer that a guy was using as an armrest. (It was standing right behind him.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm reading One Day by David Nicholls. I put off reading it for a while because I thought it might be trite and annoying. But it's actually quite good. There are just a couple of questions plaguing me:

1) When are they going to get together? (Don't tell me.)

2) Who is going to play them in the film version? (I heard there's going to be one.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

So I'm finishing up The Farmer's Daughter (Jim Harrison) and enjoying it quite a bit. He writes equally well from a male or female point of view, which is pretty rare if you ask me. He's a somewhat random author for me to like, since all of his books seem to be set in Montana, Canada, North Dakota or the upper peninsula of Michigan, but I just like the way he writes. If you are looking for a book, I recommend it.

At Whole Foods, I saw a display of yams mixed with marshmallows and it made me think of Thanksgiving. I think sweet potatoes are sweet enough by themselves.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Things I am grateful for...

Cat Power
Iron & Wine
Belle & Sebastian
the possibility of snow
pumpkin cupcakes from Billy's Bakery
pumpkin pancake mix from Trader Joe's
little E
my friends
men who name their dog "Judy" after Judy Garland
and many more...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

So we went to Philly today for a gathering of D's father's relatives. It's funny, I didn't feel much of a pull toward Philadelphia back in the day, but now I'm kind of curious about it. I wouldn't mind spending a weekend there sometime and getting to know it better. Whenever we go, we meet D's relatives at a restaurant in the suburbs, so the city itself is still kind of a mystery to me.

I do like 30th Street station. The Amtrak agent who waited on me (we had to exchange our tickets because we missed our train back to New York) seemed not to get the Philly friendliness memo. But the station is pretty and their newsstand/bookstore had surprisingly good books. I bought The Farmer's Daughter by Jim Harrison. I read The English Major by him and liked it.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Well, it started out as a dismal rainy day, but a few good things happened. I picked up 3 books, 1 from the library, 2 from B&N: How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly (Connie May Fowler), Russian Winter (Daphne Kaloty), and The Tenth Song (Naomi Ragen).

I stopped at Think Coffee, a funky coffee place where I never actually get coffee, to buy an apple crumb square. The cashier said, "We have apple crumb squares?" and I said yes, and showed him. When he saw them, recognition dawned and he yelled, "Oh yeah!"