Wednesday, December 20, 2017

So tired. Zoe and I both woke up at 3:20. She is happily watching videos.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

I just finished The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. It was an advance reviewers' copy, coming out in January, I believe. Very good book.

Monday, November 27, 2017

So...the Ruth Reichl pumpkin pancakes weren't very good. Not sweet enough. But I made pumpkin pancakes from a Jeanne Lemlin cookbook...much better.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Now I'm reading My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl. I've always enjoyed her books - Comfort Me With Apples, Tender at the Bone, Delicious. I can't relate to this one entirely, because she is grieving her job at Gourmet (an alien concept to me - I've never had a job I've missed). But it's full of appealing recipes. I got the ingredients for her pumpkin pancakes. I like the Trader Joe's pumpkin pancake mix, but it disappeared off the shelves early this year. Her recipe looks like a good substitute (but rich, with a stick of butter and four eggs). She says you can make it with half a stick, but it won't taste as good.
I just finished The Comfort Food Diaries by Emily Nunn. I really enjoyed it. I might even try a few of the recipes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I was having trouble getting to sleep, so I finished up The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg. I thought it might be too sentimental, based on the title, but it was lovely. I also read a string of good Alice Hoffman books lately: The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Faithful, The Dovekeepers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

About halfway through The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. Really enjoying it. It's about Camille Pissaro's mother (although he is also a character in the story). They're living in Charlotte Amalia, St. Thomas.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I just finished The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. She is hit or miss for me, but I liked this one. I like the idea of being a witch.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sometimes I get nostalgic about clothes. I miss a gray wool sweater from college and a purple velour dress, also from college.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The new Ladies' Detective Agency book is out today :)

Sunday, November 05, 2017

I just finished Tom Perrotta's frankly rather icky book, Mrs. Fletcher. The subject matter was a little...but his voice is always readable and engaging.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Sometimes I wake up way too early for no reason.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

There is something soothingly mindless about Pinterest, a respite from one's problems. I saw a pin for crock pot cheesy potato soup. I couldn't decide if it was disgusting or good (a cup of milk, half a cup of heavy cream, a pound of Velveeta). I'm leaning toward disgusting. But I saved it anyway.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I tried a bath bomb for the first time. It was rainbow sherbet, and I was a little surprised when it turned the bath orange! But it smelled nice, and felt relaxing. The other one I got is birthday cake.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There are so many minestrone recipes out there. My favorite is from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood cookbook (the first cookbook I used when I was learning to cook, after college).  I was drinking a glass of Cupcake Malbec while I made it, and I added a tablespoon to the soup. It never hurts a tomato-based sauce.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

There is something oddly satisfying about Pinterest this time of year. They dive headfirst into the whole pumpkin spice thing.

The cooking continues...I made a caramelized onion tart yesterday and now there's a tomato soup cooking in the slow cooker. You add cream at the end.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Every summer I take a break from cooking - aside from my baked ziti, which everyone loves, and basics like baked potatoes and grilled cheese. Then in the autumn, like clockwork, the desire to cook comes back. Tonight I made what Eric calls "the bean dish" - pinto beans mixed with white rice, chili powder, and salt, then layered with sour cream and Mexican cheese in my red Le Creuset. It always tastes so good, and it's nice to make something with your hands.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Terrace thoughts

My new apartment (well, I've been here almost 2 years) has a lot of Rear Window moments. It is situated so I have a direct view of other people's terraces. I've seen a guy showering, etc. (Just his back and shoulders). Right now I have terrace envy, because one neighbor enclosed their terrace and they have blinds (partially lowered) and soft, warm table lamps. Yet, I don't really want a terrace because I would be nervous about my kids being on it.

Friday, October 06, 2017

I'm making my first soup in a while...broccoli, potato and cheese soup from one of my slow cooker cookbooks. You brown some onion in butter, then combine it with water and quartered potato, and let it all cook on low for 6 hours. You add some chopped broccoli near the end. Then you serve it with grated sharp cheddar, and cream if you want (I usually skip that).

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

I finished Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand. I loved it. It's the last book in this trilogy, but she's planning to write another trilogy, set on St. John USVI. It'll be strange to read something she's written that's not set on Nantucket (although she does venture into New York sometimes).

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

There’s a new Elin Hilderbrand novel out today - Winter Solstice. Always a good way to start the day.

Monday, October 02, 2017

So saddened by the senseless massacre in Vegas. Gun control is our biggest problem as a country (along with Trump).

Sunday, October 01, 2017

I love my new coat. Also, I took a walk on the highline while listening to the Sasha remix of "West End Girls."

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I'm feeling more disgusted by Donald Trump every day. He's blaming the people of Puerto Rico for their suffering. The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, says that the federal response is a form of genocide. My building (and the nine other buildings in my co-op) are having a drive tomorrow (canned goods, water, diapers, D batteries) to help Puerto Rico. I got all of the above, but it feels like a drop in the bucket. I also posted on FB on a community board. I wish I could do more. Hillary would have done a much better job than DT.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I just had a burst of nostalgia for the first thing I remember making (baking). The recipe was from a Better Homes and Gardens kids' cookbook, with a red and white checked cover. It consisted of Pillsbury dough, rolled out and twisted into figure eights, then dipped in melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. Very good. From the same era were chocolate chip squares, also excellent but I can't remember which cookbook they came from. They were light brown/beige with a slightly crunchy top and chocolate chips inside.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tori Amos has a new CD coming out on September 8 - Native Invader. She pre-released three songs from it. One of them in particular is very good (Up the Creek) and the other two are good too. This is a relief to me, because her last CD was kind of bland.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

I'm reading a great book called Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. Very funny, lots of New York moments. Quirky, recognizable characters. In fact, it reminds me of The Accidental Tourist (without the sad parts). The Accidental Tourist is one of my favorite books.
I feel a little sad. Our fish died. Zoe is relatively unbothered and just wants to get a new one tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

I like the absence of rules.
I was reading a friend's blog and she used "dog leg" as a verb. I looked it up and it means to bend sharply, like a dog's hind leg.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Today I went to a restaurant that I've been to a million times, and ordered something different. It's nice to step out of your comfort zone sometimes. I got a tofu eggplant stir fry, which barely had any eggplant, but lots of other vegetables. And it came with a nice sauce and white rice. On the drinks menu, there was Justin Cucumberlake (but it was way too early for gin). A blackboard on the wall said, Chering is Caring.

Our fish is thriving. His name is Chase now, so he won't have gender identity issues. I was worried about him initially; he was floating listlessly the day we got him. But after I cleaned his tank, he perked right up. It's a nice small fishbowl, so it's fairly easy to clean.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

We got a fish. It's a boy, but Zoe wanted to name it Lily anyway. Hopefully it won't have a gender identity crisis.
I got back from Ireland a few days ago, and I find myself missing the veggie burger at Salt N Pepper. Slathered with mayo, plus a side of "regular chips," it was pretty much perfect. The Bailey's hot chocolate wasn't bad, either. And a long ramble on the remote island of Inismor, full of cows and roses, sea and sky...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

About to finish The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin. Cute story, and I learned some new things about Paris. And it's part of a series.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I just finished The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand. It was fantastic. She is probably my favorite author.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I just watched Before Sunset. I'm not sure how many times I've seen this movie, but I love it just as much as the first time.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Zoe and I had strawberry Nutella crepes in Central Park today...

Friday, April 21, 2017

I finished The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve...very good.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I went on a field trip with Zoe's class today. At the butterfly conservatory, one of the butterflies decided to adopt me.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Trump removed Bannon from the National Security Council. This is definitely good news. Bannon was a bad influence on him.
One day, when I picked Zoe up from school, she told me, "Today was the best day ever. We went to Gristedes as a class. We got popsicles and ate them in the park. Then we played in the park."

I really like her class. The kids are sweet, though they keep getting lice. Zoe has escaped it so far. I've already found "Hair Fairies" online, where they take care of it for you. And I cut her hair shorter recently, which makes it easier to take care of, and also looks cute. I looked into other lice solutions. Apparently, using an ordinary hair dryer will kill 97% percent of them. Also, you can coat the child's hair with Cetaphil (a facial cleanser that I have), then blow dry the hair, then shampoo it 8 hours later. Apparently doing this once a week for 3 weeks will take care of it, and you don't even need to remove the nits. Although Hair Fairies is probably easier.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Another music discovery - case/lang/viers. iTunes recommended them to me because I was listening to Aimee Mann's new music. It's uncanny how "on" these recommendations are sometimes.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I made broccoli cheddar soup today. I made one tweak to the recipe, which made all the difference. Because Eric is such a chef and loves shopping at Whole Foods, we had a full, fresh container of buttermilk in the fridge. I added a half a cup of buttermilk at the end, instead of the milk/cream/water that the recipe called for. So much better.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Now I've finished all of Sarah Jo's books. I hope she writes another one soon. She does seem prolific.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Just finished Goodnight June by Sarah Jio. I'm sad it's over. Such a good book. It made me see Goodnight Moon (and its author) in a whole new light.

Friday, March 10, 2017

I made one of my improvised slow cooker soups today and it came out very well. I started with one cup dried yellow split peas, salt, pepper and some water. After letting them cook alone for a while, I added some sliced carrots. Near the end, I added two cloves sliced garlic, 1/2 tsp tarragon, 1/2 tsp thyme, and a little more salt. I like it a lot.

I modeled it loosely on a recipe in Vegetarian Planet, but I didn't use any white wine because I didn't have any. I didn't miss it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

I just finished Three Sisters, Three Queens - the first Philippa Gregory book I have read. I enjoyed it, though the ending was a little strange. Henry VIII was a lot like Trump - "vulgar and showy," rewriting reality.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

I stopped eating desserts on November 4, 2015, after learning that I weighed 30 lbs more than I thought I did. I lost the weight, but I continued to avoid desserts. You really do feel better if you don't eat much sugar. (I have small amounts in yogurt, and a little brown sugar on my oatmeal, but that's it.)

Fast forward to today. We were all at lunch and Eric ordered red velvet yodels. I'm usually not even tempted by desserts anymore, but I tried some. Then my stomach got really upset. I was in a cab later (with a plastic bag in my purse, just in case), and then I threw up in the bag. You really do feel better afterward. But this cements my decision to avoid desserts. My stomach can't handle the richness anymore.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

I've been reading Joanne Fluke's cozy mysteries for years, and I've never made a recipe from them. A friend asked me if I had. And now, her newest book, Banana Cream Pie Murder, has a number of interesting recipes in it.

Corn chowder - this was a little heavier than I expected, including whipping cream and creamed corn, as well as regular corn.

Beer muffins - I really don't know if this would work or not, but it sounded interesting. You have to use a pale lager and cheese.

Peach muffins - these would be the most likely candidate, though I've basically cut out sweets in the past year and a half. You put together a regular muffin batter, and add drained sliced peaches from a can. For the streusel topping, you melt some butter in the microwave, and add flour and brown sugar.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

I had a writing teacher who said writing was most like acting. I know what he means, in terms of the characters, but I think it's more like painting. With words instead of colors.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

If I moved to Florida, my vote would really count. It's definitely the most palatable swing state.

Friday, February 24, 2017

I'm reading Eleanor & Hick, about Eleanor Roosevelt. Very interesting.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Edward Hopper drew this on the back of his report card when he was 9. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I have a lot of admiration for Elizabeth Warren. We basically have an "emperor has no clothes" situation, in terms of Trump and his lies. A lot of people (mainly, the GOP) are nodding and pretending he has clothes. But not Elizabeth. She talked to the Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, about the lies Trump spread because he wants to dismantle Dodds-Frank. Basically, he was saying it's hard for his buddies to borrow money, and the regulations put American banks at a disadvantage vis-a-vis foreign banks. Both statements are completely wrong; in fact, banks of all sizes are more profitable after the regulations. I like how she speaks truth to power.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Zoe just told me she wants to be Batman for Halloween. She always decides in advance. Last year, she was broccoli.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Music has to be 20-40 years old for me to appreciate it.
I just learned a Danish word:

Hyggebukser [hoogabucksr]: That one pair of pants you would never wear in public but are so comfortable that they are likely to be, secretly, your favorites.

(from The Little Book of Hygge)
Eric tells me, "I'm reading a list of Disney characters who broke the fourth wall." I bet many adults don't know what the fourth wall is.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Just finished The Bertie Project by Alexander McCall Smith. I really like him. If you haven't read him already, go out and do it!

Monday, February 06, 2017

I like Barbara Kingsolver, but she is not prolific enough. 
I saw a short clip of Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse dancing on Facebook. It's from the movie The Band Wagon (1953). Wow! Really talented.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Zoe and I were talking about kindergarten. "My teacher was named Mrs. Tipert," I told her. "She liked to wear red and yellow." I added, "She's probably retired or something."

"Or dead or something," said Zoe.

I said, "No! Retired."

Zoe said, "But that was, like, 50 years ago."

I explained it was, in fact, 36 years ago. Sheesh!

Friday, February 03, 2017

I made a slipper for Zoe without a pattern. She said, "You're a master of knitting." Now I'm working on the second slipper.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

This administration is pissing me off. I thought a small silver lining was that Trump did not do anything to weaken gun control. It turns out he just didn't get to it yet; he was busy banning refugees and handcuffing 5-year-olds at the airport. Then I saw this tweet:

"House votes to roll back Obama votes on background checks for gun ownership."

I hate this administration! Every good thing that Obama did, they are undoing it. I don't blame him for leaving the country (temporarily).

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Like everyone, I'm a little freaked out about Bannon right now (he says, like Lenin, he would like to destroy the state and all of today's establishment), and Trump firing the acting AG who disagreed with him.

But anyway, I always have to get ready in the morning in a short period of time, and I notice that I always put on foundation and lipstick, but wear my baggy, gray, homeless-person sweatpants. Priorities. I do always run into a ton of people on the way to Zoe's school, but I guess I would rather be seen in sweatpants than without makeup. I wonder if other people are the reverse (would skip makeup but put on a fabulous outfit). I feel like people look at your face first, or almost exclusively.

I also saw a squirrel jump about a foot in the air, startled. Another mom saw it too, and giggled.

A preorder showed up on my Kindle: 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster. The New Yorker had said it verged on tedious, so I considered canceling the preorder, but now I'm glad I didn't. He has such a natural ease for storytelling. A secretary at a law firm where I worked recommended him to me, years ago. She's long gone, in Oregon or something, but her recommendation lingers on. Funny how that works. There are a few authors I still read, years after falling out of touch with the recommender.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Trump wanted to get rid of the electoral college, but Mitch McConnell talked him out of it. That's the only thing I've ever agreed with Trump about.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I had many fears when Trump was elected. They have all come true, after he's been in office A FEW DAYS.

For example:
building the wall
camps to detain undocumented immigrants
full-scale war on the environment
curtailment of First Amendment rights

I just didn't think it would happen SO FAST.

AND he has an unsecured Android phone. James Comey is quiet.

I've never seen such a corrupt regime in my life. In this country, anyway. I was born after Nixon, who was probably the closest contender, but Watergate seems almost quaint now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I grew up with an older brother. He is a little more mature now, but back then he liked to say, "I fart in your general direction" (from Monty Python and the Holy Grail). I just taught this line to Zoe, and she likes it a little too much! I wonder how her kindergarten teacher will react if she says it at school. I have a feeling her kindergarten teacher has seen, and enjoyed, the movie.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Knitting makes me feel better about DT. I'm making a pair of slippers for Zoe.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I read an article in the Washington Post about Trump's comments as he signed his cabinet nomination papers. When he got to Betsy DeVos, he said, "Ah. Betsy. Education, right?" Did he forget what he nominated her for? He reminds me of that boss who delegates everything and has no idea what's going on (but pretends he does).
Aimee Mann's new song "Goose Snow Cone" is really good.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

My new favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes: slice them about an inch thick, boil them for 20-25 minutes, let them drain. Then mix 4 cloves of garlic with 3 tbsp melted butter. Drizzle over the sweet potatoes, then sprinkle a little salt over. (I like coarse salt.) Then broil for a few minutes, add some parmesan, and broil a little more.

Friday, January 20, 2017

I found this brief speech very soothing.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I finished reading Class by Lucinda Rosenfeld. I would definitely recommend it to other New Yorkers (and other people as well, though its appeal may be specific). It was a satire about race, class and education in NYC, and many of the details were pitch-perfect. She went over the top occasionally (mostly in mother-to-mother confrontations that were slightly unbelievable; in my experience, women tend to be more passive-aggressive), but other parts were more realistic than most books. I really enjoyed it.

I still can't believe Trump will be inaugurated on Friday! I'm reminded of a thoroughly stupid comment that one of my cousins wrote on Facebook: "Even if the next four years are not great, it will be worth it for the message that was sent." What message?? That you hated job growth, Obamacare and the Paris Agreement? The only consolation is, he lives in Massachusetts, so his vote had zero influence (Hillary won  the state).

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Eric's crazy cooking continues. Tonight he made tofu/vegetable curry AND butternut squash ravioli (he made the filling and put it inside wonton wrappers), then he made a browned butter/sage/hazelnut sauce for the ravioli.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A friend is dating & one of her prospects recommended a musician...Agnes Obel. I almost never like music recommendations - but this was fantastic. Reminds me a bit of The Piano. Also a great Victorian album cover.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Zoe cracks me up sometimes. There was some chocolate under the microwave and she said, "That bug wants some chocolate!" Then she smeared a little more chocolate on the counter, apparently wanting to feed the bug. I quickly wiped the chocolate off the counter. I told Zoe, "No chocolate" (for the bugs). She smiled and said, "Only healthy."

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

I like it when you discover a good song that's probably been around your whole life. "Dark Star" by Crosby, Stills & Nash - it probably came out before 1975.