Monday, February 28, 2011

February Book Tally

Black Heels To Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
Brave Girl Eating by Harriet Brown
Earth Abides by George Stewart
Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Eternal by Cynthia L Smith
Object of Desire by William J Mann
My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
Hunger by Jackie Kessler (review coming this week)

Another good month. Nine this month. Bringing my total for the year to 20. Water for Elephants was definitely my favorite this month.

Fill In The Gaps Challenge:2 (Eternal & Water For Elephants)
War Through The Generations:1 (My Name Is Mary Sutter)
YA Reading Challenge: 3 (Eternal & Hunger)
The Original TBR Challenge: 2 (none additional this month)
Support Your Local Library Challenge: 8
100+ Reading Challenge: 20

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow & A Favorite From The Past

We had a little bit of snow here. I wish I would have taken pictures in the morning but I had to hustle to the bus.
 I wanted to make some comfort food for dinner. I made fajitas and Mexican Rice.
I spied a Mexican Rice recipe on Heather's Dish. It seemed a lot like the rice my mom used to make. Since she didn't leave me a recipe, I figured I would try Heather's recipe. I tweaked a bit to make it more like my mom's. I substituted a can (15 oz) of diced tomatoes and only used 3 cups of stock. It came out exactly like Mom used to make. I'll be making this one again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

This is on my list for War Through The Generations: US Civil War. I was intrigued by a woman trying to be a doctor during the American Civil War. Actually Mary Sutter is a midwife, trying to be a surgeon.
What I enjoyed about this book is that it was told from multiple perspectives in one narrative. The perspective bounced from Mary to Mr Lincoln to Dr Stipp back to Mary. There were several characters to keep track of but each one was framed so beautifully I wasn't even confused. At times it was chaotic like war but done so gracefully that it felt like a dance.
The story carries Mary from the beginning of the war trying to find a surgeon who will teach her. It's male dominated profession and the surgeons she asks for help either ignore her or mock her. But as the war starts, Mary sees her chance. The army is looking for nurses. She takes her opportunity and finds herself in the middle of the war.
I admired Mary's determination despite the opposition she faced. Even when her mother turned away from her she never gave up her dream. Mary found a way to succeed even when no one believed in her.
I enjoyed this beautiful story that frequently showed the horror of war. There was plenty of descriptions of what war does the human body. The book was rich in details about the war. Recommended to those who enjoy stories about strong women characters and the American Civil War. Others who shared their thoughts on My Name Is Mary Sutter: Bibliophile By The Sea, The Lost Entwife and My Friend Amy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How We Cut The Cord On Cable

 In October we ditched the cable box.
 
The primary reason was that our cable was so crappy. We had cable through a dish (something I was not a fan of but the only cable choice in our apartment complex). Frequently we lost signal. The final straw was when our DVR failed to record an episode of Glee and mangled an episode of Chuck. I called the cable company and told them to take their box back. They did send a tech out to check if anything could be done before we said say┼Źnara. They determined that we lived in a dead spot and would always have shitty reception. I wish they would have told us when they installed the cable.
 So what do we do without cable? We still watch plenty of tv. We signed up for Hulu Plus and Netflix and use our Playstation 3 to stream tv and movies to our tv. I did buy an antenna and digital converter box so we can watch live tv like football games and award shows but we haven't hooked it up yet.

Life without cable has been easy for me since I don't watch any reality tv except for Dancing With The Stars (which is on Hulu anyway) occasionally. A lot of my friends who watch Bravo shows have felt lost without cable tv. Plus we save $100 a month. Saving money wasn't the reason for ditching cable but it's a benefit.
So have you ditched cable? Would you?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Day Dinner

Ordinarily Tai and I don't go out to dinner on Valentine's Day. We prefer to stay home, away from crowded restaurants. But since Valentine's Day was on a Monday this year we decided to go out to dinner before his volleyball game.
We ate at Omar Al Khyam in Renton since it's close to the community center where he plays volleyball.
 
 We started with the olives.
 Tai ordered the lamb. He loves lamb and will eat it every chance he gets.
 I got the grape leaves. This my favorite dish there. I could eat 2 plates of these grape leaves.
And we finished with baklava. So good. The best baklava I've ever had.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hotel On The Corner of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford

I picked up Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet because it's set in Seattle. And I love to read book set in my fair city. I enjoyed it not only because of it's setting but the beautiful love story that unfolds. Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is the story of Henry, growing up in the 1940's. Henry is Chinese living in Chinatown. His father wants Henry to get a good education so he sends him to a predominately white school. Henry is bullied by the other kids who can't distinguish Chinese from Japanese. But it's at that school that Henry meets Keiko, a Japanese girl who teaches him about becoming his own man, standing up for what he thinks is and most importantly love. At the heart of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a love story, love for family, love between parents, friends and first loves.
I highly recommend Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It's a wonderfully beautiful story. Others who shared their thoughts: The Lost Entwife, Book Journey, The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader, Savvy Verse & Wit, Lovely Little Things, Bookgirl's Nightstand, Lori's Reading Corner and Library Queue.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Library Loot

 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
When I saw that Orson Scott Card had a new book, I immediately put it on my tbr list.
I spotted Laurie Notaro's new book on the library shelf I had to add it to my pile. I've loved her True Tales and this one appears to be fiction.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Earth Abides by George Stewart

I choose to read Earth Abides after Tai mentioned while we were watching The Road. He had enjoyed it because he remembered the parts about changes in the animal population after The Great Disaster. Earth Abides was one of the first post-apocalyptic novels, written in 1949. I had 2 problems with Earth Abides. The first was the time period. I clearly don't think like someone from the late 1940's. There were references to slavery and restarting that idea. The treatment of the disabled was horrible. At one point they consider killing a possibly developmental delayed woman to stop her from producing "slow witted children". It almost seemed like Ish (the main character) wanted to create a superior race (sound familiar?). Ish irritated me. He thought everyone else stupid and himself superior. It was hard for me to finish the book since he was so condensing.
I did enjoy the changes in the animal population like Tai. After man is gone, it's easy to how the ecosystem rises and falls, stabilizing itself. When one population because too large something comes along to bring it back into balance. I also enjoyed the writing. Stewart is wonderful at weaving a story and using vivid imagery to tell the story. I didn't feel like I was being shown what was going on but painted a picture. I did enjoy that.
Overall I was meh on this one. If you enjoy older sci-fi, this might be a good choice. Others thoughts on Earth Abides: Mere Nostrum, Headed for Alien Territory and Renascencegirl.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Love List

It's becoming a tradition for me to post what I'm loving right now on Valentine's Day, so here we go:

♥ Coffee at Bedlam
♥ Library books
♥ Snuggling with Tai
♥ Pandora

♥ Conversation Hearts :)
♥ Zumba
♥ Sweater dresses
♥ A post workout shake
♥ Good food and good company
♥ Having my resident tech guy back in Washington (aka Jeff)
♥ Pie
Dance Central (I want a Xbox 360 and Kinect so badly so I can play this all the time)

♥ Groupon & Living Social
♥  Trying new restaurants

What are you loving?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Library Loot

 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
Heavy on Fill In The Gaps books this week. All 3 books are on my Fill In The Gaps list.
What did you get this week?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Changed Things Again

I've been bored with my old blog theme. I've been looking around for one I liked more but was having a tough time. Today while reading Serving Thirty-nine to Wife, I noticed her background and scrolled to the bottom to see who she got it from. I was surprised to see it was a Blogger template. I checked out their selection and found something I liked. I'm digging the purple (my favorite color). What do you think?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond

Let me first say, I love Ree. I read her food blog everyday and I was giddy when Marta gave me this book (Thanks to her job at large e-tailer I got it a few weeks ago). And I feel horrible saying this but I did not love her book.
Black Heels to Tractor Wheels is the story of how Ree met her husband, Marlboro Man. The book is about their courtship, their engagement, their wedding, their honeymoon and the beginning of their marriage. Black Heels started as blog posts Ree wrote to tell her fans about her relationship with Marlboro Man (MM). And if I was reading them in installments (say weekly), I would think how cute. But 200 straight pages of how she melted every time MM spoke, I wanted to gag. They do have a sweet love story, a whirlwind romance. But I felt that a lot of the details weren't necessary-what they wore, how strong his biceps were, the sound of his laugh-described over and over again. If I'd read it a series of blog posts I would have thought it cute. Plus she talks very little besides her relationship with MM. Other stuff was happening at the same time but she focuses on MM. If they'd been more about what else was going on in her life (her parents, her grandma, her brother), I might have not felt those details as obnoxious. Although once they got married there was plenty of other stuff going on and I enjoyed the last 100 pages or so.
Ree is incredibly honest and funny. If you read her blog she writes this book in much the same fashion. There are sixteen recipes at the end. She does talk about cooking especially those early dates with MM. I look forward to the book after this one. The one that talks about how she started her blog (I've only been reading her for about a year or so now) and how she became the Pioneer Woman and its success.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brave Girl Eating by Harriet Brown

I added Brave Girl Eating to my library queue after reading about it on Weightless. I've know women who've struggled with anorexia and wanted to know more about it.
Brave Girl Eating is the story of the Brown family before and after their daughter, Kitty, develops anorexia. At first the Browns don't notice that Kitty has changed. In fact Brown comments on her daughter's commitment to not eat dessert, thinking that her daughter is just being healthy. Soon Kitty starts cutting out other foods, does 100's of sit ups a night and withdraws from friends. The Browns struggle to find a therapy suited for their daughter and struggle to help her recovery. Anorexia is a lot like alcoholism, one day at a time.
Brown does a lot of research and devotes a lot of pages to studies about anorexia. I definitely came away with a lot of knowledge about eating disorders, the behaviors of starvation, and the theories about why people become anorexic. It was intense. I started noticing my own eating habits. I actually think was I was less restrictive in my eating after reading this book. I'm not in danger of being anorexic but I've dealt with binge eating in the past. It's hard to have a healthy view of food when you hear so many negative things about food (this is bad for you, don't eat that). I struggle with it all the time.
Recommended to anyone who is affected by anorexia or anyone with children (boys or girls can become anorexic). Others who shared their thoughts on Brave Girl Eating: A Book A Week, Thinking About... and Dog Ear.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their eating disorder, there is help. The National Eating Disorder Association has a toll free number for those in the US: 1-800-931-2237.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Library Loot

 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
My coworker told me about Object of Desire. She just started reading it and she was really enjoying it so I thought I'd pick it.
I spotted Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter and Sweet on the library shelf and decided to add it to my huge pile of books.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Book Tally

My Life In France by Julia Child
Blood Lite II edited by Kevin J Anderson
Entre Nous by Debra Olliver
Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larrson
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
The Losers Book One and Two by Andy Diggle
Tantalize by Cynthia L Smith
Lunch In Paris by Elizabeth Baird

January was a banner month with 11 books read! Way to start the year.
Fill In The Gaps Challenge: 0
War Through The Generations: 0
YA Reading Challenge: 1(Tantalize)
The Original TBR Challenge: 2 (My Life In France & Entre Nous)
Support Your Local Library Challenge: 1 (Tantalize)
100+ Reading Challenge: 11