Friday, October 30, 2015

I just finished Slade House by David Mitchell, and enjoyed it...though it was a bit scary! It was about a haunted house that persists through the ages, and also featured a character from his previous book, The Bone Clocks. David Mitchell reminds me of Margaret Atwood - a literary writer who is equally at home with horror, science fiction, historical novels, etc.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Today, books from three of my favorite authors came out! A red-letter day for reading. The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith, Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella, and Slade House by David Mitchell (OK, he is probably not one of my top favorites yet, though I really enjoyed his last book, The Bone Clocks).

Anyway, I decided to start with Shopaholic to the Rescue, and I'm glad I did, because her books are always so light and fun.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Today I made a soup that I last tried years ago. The first time, I made it with butternut squash "from scratch" and used a vegetable stock I didn't really like. This time, I bought the pre-chopped butternut squash from Trader Joe's, which made the soup much easier to prepare. Basically, you saute two onions in 1/3 cup olive oil, add 10 cups of stock, 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste, and 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes with their liquid. Then you bring it to a boil, add 2 cups of diced butternut squash (I chopped the Trader Joe's squash into smaller pieces), lower it to a "lively simmer," and add 4 cups of kale and 2 cups of drained canned white beans after the squash is tender (about 20 minutes). Once you've added the kale and beans, you cook it for 10-15 minutes more. It was magically delicious. Zoe loves the squash. She asked if I can put it in her lunch next week. And the good stock is Kitchen Basics vegetable stock - low sodium, but still tasty.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Just listened to a bunch of Gordon Lightfoot and now I'm in a deeply mellow state.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I have to say, Larry David was hilarious as Bernie Sanders on SNL, with a very credible Brooklyn accent..."All these billionaires have three or four pairs of underwear! I only have one pair, and I dry it on the radiator cuz I don't have a dryer!" He defended Hillary on the email issue, as he did in the real debate, and then continued: "I can't even get into my email! I forgot my password and they emailed me a new one! But I can't get into my email without my password!"

And I also liked Hillary as Val the bartender.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I finished the last of the Neapolitan novels today (the second one, since I read them out of order). I know the author wrote some other things. But I'm going to miss these characters. I feel like I've been on a long vacation with them.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Years ago, when I was living in Massachusetts, I heard a song when I was driving to work. I liked the beat, but also the words: "I wish I had a girl in the hood/so I could call her." I sang that line when I went to work, making a coworker giggle. And that was it, I never heard it again.

Until last night. I was listening to playlists on Amazon Prime. There was one called "90s One Hit Wonders." I clicked on a random track, and presto, it was the girl in the hood song! I felt like we were destined to find each other, the song and I.

Except Amazon provides lyrics, and it turns out he was saying: "I wish I had a girl who looked good/and I would call her." Oh well. It's still a good song. It's called "I Wish" by Skee-Lo, in case you're wondering.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Winter Stroll

Last night I finished Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand. It's the sequel to one of her previous novels, Winter Street. Here's my review from LibraryThing and Amazon:

Sheer enjoyment. I always love Elin Hilderbrand's books. Here, she revisits the Quinn family from her previous novel, Winter Street. Patrick is in jail for insider trading; his wife, Jennifer, has developed a trashy addiction to help her cope; Kevin is adjusting to fatherhood and an unexpected encounter with his ex; Ava is trying to choose between two men, one of whom might have a crush on someone else; and Mitzi is regretting leaving her husband for Santa Claus. A fun read, with some plot threads resolved and others left hanging, so I bet there will be a sequel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Feeling good after the debate. I like both Hillary and Bernie, but will probably vote for Hillary because of her consistent record on gun control. I liked how Bernie defended her on the email issue, saying America was sick of hearing about it. We are! Let's focus on the stuff that matters.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Neapolitan novels

So I've been reading the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante. I read books 3 and 4, then I went back and read the first book, and now I'm on the second one. It's really interesting to see these grown characters (from book 3 and 4) as children, to see the seeds of their behavior, and think, "Oh yes, what happens later is foreshadowed here." I love stuff like that.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

So my mother told me today that they are going ahead with the third Bridget Jones movie. It will star Renee Zellweger (who looks very different these days), Colin Firth (yay!) and Patrick Dempsey, who will replace Hugh Grant, who dropped out of the project. I had thought they were dropping it after Hugh Grant left, so I'm looking forward to it. I think Patrick Dempsey is a good replacement. It's supposed to be about Bridget, married and pregnant ("which doesn't sound as fun," said my mother). But it will fill in the missing years between Bridget Book #2 and Bridget Book #3.

P.S. Apparently Patrick Dempsey is a new character, not a replacement.

Friday, October 09, 2015

It's not every day you see Darth Vader walking down the street.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Trying to sort out my thoughts on the 2016 election. I was a strong Bernie supporter before, but I like Hillary's record on gun control better. Bernie is from a rural, gun-friendly state, and claims that there are many responsible gun owners, and the first thing he wants to do is enter a discussion. Hillary is taking more of a hard line. At this point, I feel like a hard line is necessary. Yet, until now, I liked Bernie so much. Maybe the debate will clear things up for me. The bottom line is, I have two small children, and all these school shootings make me nervous. I wish we could have a nationwide buyback like Australia did in 1996 (in response to a single gun massacre!).

Just read a New Yorker article about Bernie, which said he hits at Hillary's Achilles heel - "authenticity." Yes. But I do like her gun control record.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

I just finished Margaret Atwood's latest book, The Heart Goes Last. What a strange and interesting story. A bit dystopian but not as bleak as the Oryx & Crake trilogy...more lighthearted and funny (but still a little dark). I liked the surprise ending (at the very end).

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Today I took Z to a birthday party on the Upper East Side (pretty far from our neighborhood). It started out as a typical birthday party (kids doing crafts, etc.) Then we were ushered into another room, where two men started unloading animals from crates. ("We Bring the Zoo to You.") The animals included a giant yellow python (named Banana), a hedgehog and a bunny. Zoe even held a tarantula!

The last animal is a baby alligator, named Rocky.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Today we went apple picking, even though the sky was gray and ominous. Once we got to the farm, about an hour from NYC, the sun peeked out and things warmed up a bit. It was a field trip Z's class was taking, with one parent per child. We all plucked apples from the trees and munched on them. Then we took a hayride to a pumpkin patch, had a picnic lunch, let the kids run around a bit, and headed back home.