Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Confessional February 27th

I confess. I hate TV. If it weren't for my love of hockey, mainly the Minnesota Wild, I wouldn't ever turn it on. Regular TV shows, movies, and series do not appeal to me.

Part of the reason, I'm sure, is because I work in the electronics department of a big box chain. from the time I get to work until the time I punch out I am listening to TVs, stereos, cell phones, portable DVD players and video games. When I get home I CRAVE peace and quiet.

Books are my love partly because they are quiet! Another reason for my love of books over TV is that books don't seem to slam you in the face with sound effects, crass characters and bright imagery. Books slowly unpeel layer after layer of a character and take their time to vividly describe that characters surroundings and environment.

Nope, I will take books any day over TV. How about you?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Snapshot February 26th

Alyce from At Home With Books hosts a weekly meme called Saturday Snapshot. To participate all you have to do is post a photo taken by you (or a friend or family member.) Please make sure it is clean and appropriate for all eyes to see and leave a direct link to your post at the Mr Linky on Alyce's blog.

I took this picture during a Boy Scout weekend two years ago and it reminds me of the famous Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Has worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel *Review*

Lilly and Val are young friends who write back and forth about their hopes and dreams, their loves and losses, their families, their friends, and recipes.
The Recipe Club takes the two friends from 1963-2003 in the epistolary style that I so enjoyed in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What starts as a young innocent friendship turns into almost a competitive, resentful relationship between the two.
Lilly's mother is a mostly absent, self absorbed woman who has multiple affairs throughout the book while Lilly's father spends the majority of his time with Val's mother trying to cure her of her mental illness. This leads to Lilly being jealous of the attention Isaac (her father) lavishes on Val, and you see how Lilly easily turns into a spoiled, demanding young woman who just like her mother can easily drop relationships when she has nothing more to gain from them.
Val, who's agoraphobic mother loves her but is never there for her in other ways (piano recitals, school conferences) strives to hold onto the friendship she has with Lilly, the one person she feels has always been there for her. As Val excels in school and love- Lilly competes for her attention yet at the same time leaves her hanging in things they have always done together.
To me, Lilly did not seem like a friend I would want and Val's neediness and dependency on Lilly's friendship began to irk me. The one redeeming factor of this book were the recipes. There were a lot of recipes sprinkled throughout the book and while not all of them were much different from what you find in any other average cookbook, the names given to them were lighthearted and fun.
By flipping to any recipe in the book I can tell you what happened in the preceding chapter by the name given the recipe. Lovelorn Lasagna, Conspiracy Apple Pie, Diploma Dip with Veggies, Confetti Spaghetti, and First Kiss Caramel Almond Kisses are all recipes that reflect their feelings or what was going on in their lives at the time.
While not a great book, it was an easy read so I'll give it 2/5 stars.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Confessional

I confess. I hate getting my hair cut. I'm one of those people who are usually doing two things at once. When I'm cooking supper I'm also reading the paper. When I'm playing cards I'm writing out my menu plan while my son shuffles and deals. I can't stand sitting in the chair at the hair salon and doing nothing for a half hour except look at myself in the mirror. So I put it off for so long that my family is about ready to put a leash on me I look so shabby.

Once cut I have another problem. I am going prematurely gray. I'm only 43, I shouldn't have a head of gray hair but it's starting to go that way and after it's cut the shorter look just emphasizes it. So after the cut I head for home to color it, which I confess, I also hate. I don't like the look of my hair when first colored because it seems so one dimensional. After a few days the different colors start coming through but at first...bleh! I told my son one of these days I'm going to get the guts up to do something really daring- at least for me. I saw a young lady the other day with short semi-spiky black hair and a patch of neon pink right up by her bangs and I loved it! So next time you see me I just might look like this:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Snapsot

Alyce from At Home With Books hosts a weekly meme called Saturday Snapshot. To participate all you have to do is post a photo taken by you (or a friend or family member.) Please make sure it is clean and appropriate for all eyes to see and leave a direct link to your post at the Mr Linky on Alyce's blog.

I took this picture on Round Lake in Minnesota a couple of years ago. It makes me laugh because it's hard to tell the birds legs from the sticks!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Second After by William R. Forstchen *Review*

One Second After is a horrifying novel about life after an EMP.

John and his family are surviving. John has started moving on after the death of his beloved wife Mary four years ago to cancer. He is raising his two daughters Elizabeth and Jennifer with the help of his mother-in-law Jen, who is also finding a way to adjust to life without her husband who is now in a nursing home.

Life is good. It's not easy, but it's good. That is until the day America collapses from an EMP strike. EMP-Electromagnetic Pulse is a high altitude explosion caused by the detonation of a nuclear bomb in the atmosphere. Anything electronic can no longer operate. This means more than TV, video game systems and radios. This means electric stoves, refrigerators, cell phones and even automobiles.

Suddenly John's little mountain town of Black Mountain is cut off from the rest of the world. Once word gets out to the residents that this is more than your average power outage, people begin to panic. They loot the local grocery store and raid the pharmacy to get supplies knowing this could last not only for weeks, but possibly months or even years.

Eventually the food starts to run out and the town is put on rations. Plans are made to not only determine how to survive for an extended amount of time with no food being shipped in, but how to grow a new food supply, prepare for the future, rebuild, and protect the community from other desperate citizens of nearby areas who are in the same boat as they are and are also starving.

One Second After is chilling. Even the book's Afterword gave me goosebumps. It's so chilling because this absolutely COULD happen. How prepared are we to handle a catastrophe of this magnitude? 4/5 Stars

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Confessional

I confess. I'm not a romantic. At least not nearly as romantic as my big teddy bear of a husband. He always can find the perfect gifts and say the sweetest things. But when it comes to Valentines Day, I dominate!

I love Valentines Day. Like the commercial on TV says- Valentines Day is for not only saying I Love You, but I Love Us. I plan for months what small (we never spend a lot because it really IS the thought that counts) gift I can get him. I read through racks and racks of cards to find the one that says exactly what I feel. And I cook! Again, it's all about the food.

A lot of couples choose to go out to eat for Valentines Day, and while that's okay for them, it doesn't work so well for us. First, it's expensive! Secondly, no matter where we choose to go, we wait forever in lines. So a few years back we decided to do the extravagant meal at home, spend our time with the kids and save a lot of money.

The same meal is made every year. I think my family would protest if I ever tried to change up the menu! The only thing that varies is dessert. I always make Steak with Parmesan Crab Sauce, Crab Legs with melted butter, baked potatoes with sour cream and chives, a side salad, Tuxedoed Strawberries, Jello Hearts, and dessert. I usually keep the dessert simple since everything else to prepare keeps me busy. These Cake Truffles look easy or I might just go with one of my faves- Praline Cheesecake.

How will you be spending your Valentines Day this year?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

Alyce from At Home With Books hosts a weekly meme called Saturday Snapshot. To participate all you have to do is post a photo taken by you (or a friend or family member.) Please make sure it is clean and appropriate for all eyesd to see and leave a direct link to your post at the Mr Linky on Alyce's blog.

I decided to participate because everyone who knows me knows I either have a camera in my hands at all times or one very close by. Everyone complains because I'm taking pictures all the time, but everyone likes to see the ones I have on my family blog or on my computer.

Today is Scout Sunday. This is a chance for the Boy Scouts to practice the "A Scout is Reverent" part of the Scout Law. Usually, our Troop hands out bulletins, greets the people coming in to the church and attends the service at Trinity Lutheran Church, our charter organization.

This year, they decided to thank them for their sponsorship by making pancakes and sausage for the members of the church. The boys did an awesome job and everyone seemed to enjoy their breakfast!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately *Review*

Elsa wants to help. In her young life she has already went through a lot with her own family, and now that they are all gone she wants to reach out and take care of someone else. Seeing an ad in a magazine for Aide du Monde, a relief organization, she decides to give them a call. But what she lacks at this point as a young nurse in the local hospital is experience. Not giving up, she joins the ER/Trauma unit and not only gains experience, but confidence as well. Six months later she gets her assignment- Afghanistan.
Then, 9/11 happens and her assignment is put on hold. She's crushed but lets them know she's still interested in helping out and she would still go to Afghanistan if called. The following spring that's exactly what happens.
Dropped off by jeep in the dusty mud plastered village of Bamiyan, Elsa begins her year of working with the sick and the injured at the little clinic. At first, met with resistance by the male Afghani doctor, she quickly gains friends and respect as she treats the patients and vllagers with love.
Then she meets Parween, and though they are world's apart, they become fast friends. She's with Parween when Parween loses her dear friend Mariam, and Parween is there when Elsa falls in love with Mike, a soldier close by on assignment.
This novel starts out so realistically I had to keep looking at the back cover to see if it was autobiographical, and indeed, it just might be. The author Roberta Gately served as a nurse and humanitarian aid worker in third world war zones ranging from Afghanistan to Africa. But I believe, realistic as it sounds, it is just a novel with some very real touches from the author who lived what she writes about.
I enjoyed this journey to another country and another culture. Gately writes well and I grew to love her characters, especially Parween. 3/5 stars

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Confessional- Super Bowl Sunday

I confess. I love Superbowl Sunday. I don't like football, nor do I care what teams get there. Some people watch it just for the commercials or the half-time show. I don't watch either. Why then do I love Superbowl Sunday every year? The food of course!

Every year someone in our family decides to throw a Superbowl party and everybody brings an appetizer type item. There's always such a fun variety of foods and new recipes to try out. During the afternoon the die hard fans watch the game. The rest of us play cards. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to go home a few dollars richer, always I go home a few pounds heavier.

This year the extended family wasn't able to pull a party together due to snowbirds being gone and my mom staying with her father to take care of him, but I still decided to have a little party just for my immediate family. I made ham & turkey sandwiches, baked beans, hamburger spread for french bread, bean dip, jalapeno poppers, crab spread, chips and dip and salsa, crackers & cheese, and cereal bars. Even with the small group I have it's still all about the food!

What about you? What do you enjoy most about Superbowl Sunday?