Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve thoughts

So D and I had dinner, avec bebe, at Otto (a Mario Batali pizza joint) which is somehow both trendy and kid-friendly. I had a bellini (Prosecco and blood orange juice, which sounds creepy, but is tasty) and a balsamic onion/goat cheese pizza. Plus some brussels sprouts with "vin cotto" as an appetizer. (I don't know what vin cotto is, but the sprouts were yummy.) Then we got home, D was reading E a story, and I started wondering which authors I have read all of. (I believe that ending a sentence with a preposition is OK.) Here are the writers:

Sara Faith Alterman (totally random)
Kate Atkinson
Jane Austen
Anjali Bannerjee
Melissa Banks
Emily Barr
Brunonia Barry
Christina Bartolomeo
Jennifer Belle
Elizabeth Berg
Sarah Bilston
Hester Browne
Lily Burana
Julie Buxbaum
Katherine Center
Jennifer Chiaverini
Megan Crane
Katie Crouch
Lynda Curnyn
Laura Dave
Robertson Davies
Jill A. Davis
Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dunn
Jeffrey Eugenides
Suzanne Finnamore
Emily Giffin
Jane Green
Ethan Hawke
Elin Hilderbrand
Kate Jacobs
Lisa Jewell
Jill Kargman
Kim Wong Keltner
Beth Kendrick
Marian Keyes
Sophie Kinsella
Claire LaZebnik
Lisa Lutz
Mameve Medwed
Clare O'Donohue
Ariella Papa
Louise Rennison
Laurie Viera Rigler
J.D. Salinger
Marjane Satrapi
Vikram Seth
Curtis Sittenfeld
Jonathan Tropper
Anne Tyler
Celestine Vaite
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Jennifer Weiner
Allison Winn Scotch
Lolly Winston
Alex Witchel
Elizabeth Young

OK, that was a freakishly long list. To those of you who made it this far, HAPPY NEW YEAR! And the good news is:

1) The list was very easy to compile because LibraryThing has a list of every author I've read, and the ones I'd read all of jumped out.

2) Facebook is not killing Blogger. Facebook is the second most popular site, and Blogger is #8. Not too shabby. Courtesy of

Monday, December 27, 2010

The real purpose of this post is to let you know that salsa and mac and cheese really do go well together. I made some Annie's mac and cheese (from the box) and mixed in some Paul Newman salsa (my second favorite after Trader Joe's roasted garlic salsa). Really good.

Also, I can't wait to see The King's Speech. It's important to get your Colin Firth fix.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So we arrived in Massachusetts today. My mother caught me up on the goings-on. Sadly, her ex-coworker's husband died of a heart attack in a motel room, and a cousin of mine (whom I didn't know very well) died of pancreatic cancer. So she gave me the bad news first, and then during dinner (an onion and cheese pie with salad), she tells me my sister has a new boyfriend! I think the good news should come first.

No one has met him yet; he's about my sister's age, an engineer, and has 3 children from a prior marriage. In other news, my oldest nephew (he's 18; he was born when I was a senior in high school) has got into all the colleges he has heard from. He is still waiting to hear from two. So, no one has rejected him yet. I am proud of him. Also, he played a football game in Gillette Stadium. Since I live in New York and am not a sports fan, my mother explained that the Patriots play there. So my nephew has played in the same place Tom Brady does, and it was televised. (They lost the game, but I guess it was still exciting for them.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's that time again...

So we're headed to New England on Wednesday, taking the wee one on the train. Coloring books are a wonderful invention. I was a shameless slacker with Christmas shopping this year. I made two gifts, bought some others, and have one remaining to buy! I'm planning to get it in Massachusetts.

Am reading An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor. One of those leisurely Irish sagas. I am enjoying it. It is set in northern Ireland, which is a little unusual, but in the 1960s (no unrest then, I think). The cool thing about discovering a series is that you then have a whole bunch of "new" books to read.

Also on my pile: Skippy Dies (I don't like the title, but it's been recommended), Matched (one of those dystopia books I keep reading despite myself, but this one seems gentle), The False Friend, and a nonfiction book about the "silk road" (an ancient trade route through Europe, Asia, Afghanistan, etc.; totally not something I would usually read, but it looks interesting and well-written).

What are you doing for the holidays?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pink cardi

This is a pink cardigan I'm knitting. It's almost done. Usually, for better or worse, I'm a yarn snob and I insist on using wool instead of acrylic, but this time I broke my rules. I'm glad I did...this acrylic yarn is very soft and fluffy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wow, I can't believe it is almost the new year. I'm in that reflective mode that marks the end of an old year. 2010 had some ups and downs. I made some mistakes, but nothing too serious. I learned some things. Overall, I am optimistic about 2011. What are your thoughts as we approach a new year?

And...I'll throw it in this post because otherwise I might forget. The best books I read in 2010:

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler. I love pretty much everything she writes.
The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen.
Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani.
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. Disturbing but illuminating look at the life of Lewis Carroll.
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. Another favorite author of mine.
The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini. I love this series.
The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg.
Insignificant Others by Stephen McCauley.
The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch.
Hothouse Flower by Margot Berwin. About a woman's quest to collect exotic plants.
The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman. Curiously, I can't get into any of her other books. But I enjoyed this one. It also has a beautiful cover.
The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson. A new author that I will keep an eye on.
Slow Love by Dominique Browning. A little depressing, but the writing was lovely.
The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand. Perfect summer fiction, about a restaurant on Nantucket.
White Horses by Alice Hoffman. This one was very, um, memorable. I think there were a lot of true things in it, though the subject matter was shocking for some.

And (drumroll) the most depressing book I read in 2010:
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. About mistreated clones in a dystopian culture.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Black Swan

So I saw Black Swan today, and the theater was packed (at 2:30 pm on a Tuesday afternoon). It was really good. It was also not what I expected. I thought it would be a ridiculous, fun ballet movie, with a little catty rivalry thrown in for kicks. Wrong. It was very intense, one of the most gripping movies I've seen in a long time. There were a few campy moments, but I think they were thrown in for comic relief.

It reminded me a bit of Rosemary's Baby - the mounting sense of paranoia, are they ganging up on her, or is it really in her head? But it was really its own creation. One thing I thought was really cool about it was that there was no mundanity. In real life, the mundane is inevitable, but all these characters avoided it.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Crock pot apple crisp

I'm sharing this because I'm pretty sure it's going to be awesome. It's in my crock pot right now.

6 c sliced apples
1 1/2 c flour
1 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
3/4 c butter
1/4 t ginger

Grease crock pot. Line bottom with apple slices. Combine the other ingredients in a bowl, and cover apples with mixture. Cover and cook on low until apples are tender.

(From Roxanne)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

So I survived E's first preschool interview. It was very different from most interviews I've experienced. At first, the director just told us about the school at an exhaustive level of detail. She was clearly very passionate about it and very involved. When we toured the classrooms, the children knew her by name and came running up to her. They were all cute and spirited, yet well-behaved. The teachers seemed to have a lot of control over the class, but without yelling or losing their cool. No one was neglected and everyone seemed happy.

One thing was interesting. I think the director was very observant. At one point, she asked which hand E uses for various activities. She said, "You use your left, which one does he use?" That startled and impressed me. I'm not sure how she could tell I was a lefty, I didn't write anything in front of her. Anyway, I told her my mom thinks E is a righty, but when she asked me more questions, I realized he uses both hands for most things.