You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2007.

I once was lost…well, one of my earrings at any rate.  It’s an incredibly sickening realization to come home (it’s always after you’ve been 10,000 places that day) to realize that you’ve lost an earring.  Floor, no.  Coat, scarf, no.  Car, no.  You contemplate all the people you could call and ask “have you seen a little blue earring?”  You’d almost have rather lost both earrings and then you wouldn’t have that lone faithful earring looking at you reproachfully.

Days later, you’re picking up the living room.  You pick up a basket off the floor, and there it is.  Mocking you, saying “hahaha I was here all along in plain view and you just couldn’t SEE ME.”

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Let’s talk glasses. Glasses and contacts and who do I want to be today? Hair in a bun and glasses so I can live up to all those stereotypes? Because I do enjoy hair in a bun and glasses. It’s been a year since my last eye exam, which means I’m eligible for a new set of lenses and, if I read the insurance form correctly, frames. I think the last time I had new frames was…2001? 2002? It doesn’t seem like that long ago but boy howdy, my eyes know the difference. I wore my glasses yesterday and kept wondering why my eyes hurt. Um, because the prescription is 6 years out of date?  (Note: this has nothing to do with not being able to see the prodigal earring – I was not wearing glasses that day.)

But here’s the problem: picking out frames. There are two prongs to this problem. 1) Inability to make a decision – do they look okay? Am I hallucinating when I think of myself as the type of person to wear these frames? Will I regret the decision the moment I’m stuck with them? Are they too large/small for my head? Etc. 2) When you’re nearsighted, and you try on frames, and you look in the mirror, all you see is a fuzzy outline. And you think, “these look awesome!” or “I could never wear these” but you have no idea what you really look like in them. For the love of God, someone needs to come with me. But who?

In other news, I was dusting/rearranging/weeding my bookshelves today (while listening to lectures on reviewing reference books) and realized that I own more than 30 bookmarks. I just kept finding more. This does not stop me, every time I’m at Powell’s, from picking up their latest offering, oh no. Or, when I’m at work, from grabbing an Olivia bookmark (“reading never wears me out”) or one that spells out READ in green peas.

*Thanks, Quotationary. And George Chapman.

Thanks to Hank & Co., both my dear roommate and I went to bed last night with “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone…From Your Pants” stuck in our heads.  It’s catchy.  It led to me getting up this morning, after the sleep of the dead in which dream-version-of-roommate asked if the griddle cakes* were ready yet, and thinking, ‘what shall I read next?’  This led to ‘well, Annie recommended Peace Like a River…In Your Pants.’  And the consequent singing to self while making oatmeal:

I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river,

I’ve got peace like a river in my pants.

I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river,

I’ve got peace like a river in my pants.

And, well, when you put the other verses to the test?  Love like an ocean?  Joy like a fountain?  Perish the thought.

*Miss Pym Disposes features griddle cakes.  I now want a griddle cake.  As it turns out, a griddle cake is not like a pancake, but rather soda bread that is flattened and cooked in a skillet.  Apparently, there is a Society for the Preservation of Soda Bread.  Just in case your felt like joining the good fight.

Three to go…in the Winter Classics Challenge.  I kept my weary eyes propped open with decorative toothpicks until 1 am to finish The Woman in White.  As soon as I realized I was a mere 100 pages from the end, the drive to finish came upon me, and finish I did.  It took 10 days of reading nothing else (except school stuff).  Usually, if a book takes that long, it means I’ve taken a break to read something else.  No breaks for me!

I have to say, though, that right up to the end I didn’t really care what happened to Laura.  I liked Walter and Marian.  I thought Marian deserved better than being the maiden aunt, so what if she’s not as pretty as Laura.  Fosco, Fosco was just brilliantly creepy.  And the uncle was deliciously obnoxious.  It was really the villains, big or small, who made the book.

Now I’m zipping through River Secrets because I’ve had it out forever and someone else has it on hold.  It’s so quick!  After this, my next classic shall be…Madame Bovary.

Today I’d like to give a shout-out to Kate, who has apparently fallen off the face of the (blogging) earth and can’t get up.  Actually, she’s probably composing a goat post as we speak.  Read.  Whatever.  In her honor I’d like to compose something that isn’t about children’s lit.  Is that even possible anymore?  We’ll find out.

1.  First, and appropriately so, is my love of the Banana Chocolate Chip Pecan Muffin (recipe courtesy of the very same Kate, naturally).  They are a force of nature.

BANANA MUFFINS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND PECANS

¾ cups all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
¾ cups wheat bran or flax
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare your muffin tin with liners or butter. Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate chips and pecans in small bowl; add 1 tablespoon flour mixture and toss to coat.

Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.  Spoon into muffin tins.

Bake for about 18-20 minutes, testing with a fork.

So, this time I made them with white flour, bran, and 1/2 cup sugar.  They are still sweet and desserty.  Next time I might try whole wheat, more bran, or just a hint of sugar.  I like the chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate) and they might be enough sweetener on their own.  I want to feel like I can eat them for a snack and have it feel moderately healthy.  (BB, I made your carrot apple muffins last week and they were also delish – I’m going to play around with that recipe next time I muffin it up.)

2.  “If You Care” 100% Unbleached Large Baking Cups are, despite their obnoxious name (nothing makes me want to NOT care more than a name like that) marvelous.  The muffins slide right out of those puppies like nobody’s business.  I think my last set of muffin cups was the plain white ones at Fred Meyer, and I thought they were okay until I Cared at the Four Seasons.

3.  Corporate job + iPod = sanity.  I can sit at my desk, block out my coworkers’ noise, and have a party in my head with Bob Dylan and the Leopard-Skin Pill-Box hat.  Now I just need to get some books on there and I’ll be in business.

I love seeing this on the powells.com bestseller list:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
  2. Rules by Cynthia Lord
  3. Gone Wild by David Mclimans
  4. Flotsam by David Wiesner
  5. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

I support children’s books taking over the world (did I say that out loud?)

 

In other news, I feel like I’ve been reading The Woman in White FOREVER. Not that I’m not loving it, because it’s fantastic (although I don’t really like Laura – Marian is the spunkier one and gets my admiration) but I guess I’m too used to reading those delicious, short children’s books. I’ve been reading it for over a week without taking a break for anything else* and it feels pathetic having such a long gap inbetween titles.

 

The books on my shelf are taunting me. Let’s list them and maybe they’ll stop.

 

 

  1. Write to Kill
  2. The Autobiography of Henry VIII
  3. Enduring Love (audio)
  4. Reading Like a Writer
  5. 109 East Palace (inspired by The Green Glass Sea to try non-fiction)
  6. River Secrets
  7. The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.
  8. Peace Like a River
  9. Three Men in a Boat (audio)
  10. The Ghost Map (more non-fiction!)
  11. The Architecture of Happiness

This is not mentioning all those books I bought at Powell’s and have yet to read. Or the audio book (I think Miss Pym Disposes) that’s tucked under the seat of my car, waiting for me to finish Three Junes (I didn’t know what I was expecting from this, but it’s totally different in a good way). Or my roommate’s books that I’ve been wanting to read. Or The Sea of Trolls and Kiki Strike which are waiting in my basket at work because I won’t be able to fit them on the shelf if I bring them home.

 

*That’s a lie. I reread American Born Chinese to write a review.

Here’s a slightly incoherent, apparently “live” blog of the winners: Waiting for the Envelopes.

I’ve read 2 out of 3 on the awards I was most curious about:

Caldecott: Flotsam by David Wiesner

Honors: Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet by David McLimans and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Carole Boston Weatherford

I would love to have opinions on these, but I simply didn’t keep up on my picture books this year. I did manage to catch Flotsam and was entranced by the illustrations, so I say hurrah for that choice.

Newbery: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

Honors: Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm, Rules by Cynthia Lord, and Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson.

I hadn’t heard of Lucky, but I am delighted to see that my branch already had it on order (only one other branch – the one with the big tax bucks – owns a copy). The only honor I’ve read is Rules, which I liked, and I’ve heard good things about the other two. I am disappointed by several titles that lost out, and I’ll make a list (of course!)

Printz: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Honors: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, and Surrender by (I have no idea).

This is the medal where I want to pump my fist in the air and shout, or something. Or, you know, grin smugly because I’ve read 4 out of 5 titles. And I fully support most of them. I was just rereading ABC last night to write a review for my YA class, and noticing on the second go round how much it’s packed with literary goodness, so I feel extra smug on that count. Octavian, my darling, has been relegated to honor status, but I can accept that. I can deal. He’s quite cluttered with medals these days, as is ABC.

Books that lost out:

Sold – this book is simply phenomenal. Heartbreakingly beautiful and gruesome at the same time.

The King of Attolia – maybe just because we’ve all got a crush on Gen, but that doesn’t mean that Turner isn’t one of the sharpest writers out there. This deserves an award all of its own.

A True and Faithful Narrative – at least an honor, people, come on!

Any other book that lost out big time?

PS – the webcast is archived now! Fun geeky watching!  Anyone else notice when they said The Giver is more than 20 years old?  Hmm, I seem to recall it winning the Newbery in, oh, 1994?  And I LOVE hearing the cheering and clapping for the winners.

“Sorry the webcast is full.”

Not even a comma!

If I had bothered to become a member of ALA, I would write a letter of complaint.

So much for getting up at 7:30.

Updated: webcast now tells me…“Today’s archive webcast will be available momentarily.”  That was at 8:28.  Please define momentarily.

THE place to be tomorrow morning (January 22) at 7:45 am PST (bwahaha – those east coast suckers have to wait for the west coast to get up for once) will be parked in front of your computer of choice to watch the live webcast of all those juicy children’s book awards right here.

I heart technology.  Most of the time.

I literally just bit my knuckles with joy when I remembered that the suspense will be over tomorrow (and the delight/anger/bewilderment will begin).

Consider this a public service announcement.  I just hope I’m well-read enough this year to weigh in.  That’s really my goal in life.

Now back to The Woman in White.

I finished it!  I finished it!  All it took was one good snow day.

Okay, here’s the terrible thing about this snow day I took.  My job (corporate, natch) is considering it an Unexcused Absence in spite of the fact that I asked for a sick day.  Because roads covered in snow and (possibly) ice and a million wrecked cars from the idiots who decided to drive today – that’s not a good reason to stay home.  Oh, no.  One should attempt the drive to work, even though businesses surrounding ours closed their evening shifts.  Me, I prefer to play it safe and not risk life, limb or car going to work at 4:00 pm and returning at 9-freaking-thirty at night.  Call me crazy.  Call me unexcused.

I have a quilt to show for it (just, oh, eight months after the baby was born).

When I left the house this morning, I followed my roommate’s ski tracks to the park.  On the way, I ran into a couple other skiers.  And kids on sleds.  And dogs bounding gleefully.

I joyfully arose from my bed this morning at 7:30 upon hearing the wonderful word: snow.  The dear roommate and I ate our waffles, drank our coffee, and suited up.  She headed out to the park and then I followed, snow piling up on my scarf and hood.  I would have picture, because everything is perfect and pristine, with the snow filling in footprints and car tracks almost as soon as they’re made, but I didn’t want my camera to be covered in snow.  My ginormous and warm work parka made me feel like the kid in A Christmas Story.  I could almost put my arms down.  I made a snow angel for the first time in a million years.

Now we’re inside warming up.  More skiers just went past.  Kids are roaming the streets with snowballs and snow discs and cackling maniacally.

Classic snow day.  Good thing I made beef stew yesterday and stocked up on cream for the coffee.

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Flickr Photos

Dinner success - the rare occasion when we eat exactly the same thing (except no hot salsa on his rice & beans).

Trucks, always trucks (and the water tables).

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