Monday, November 29, 2010

Leslie Nielsen

The great Leslie Nielsen has died. I will remember him best as Frank Drebbin of "Police Squad." He made us all laugh.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Morning After

I imagine by now you've read lots of "what I have to be thankful for" posts. I am sure they've been inspiring, moving, touching.

But I have the best reason to be thankful. Ready?

a) I did not cook.

and

b) I still got leftovers!

Come on, does that rule or what? Is it not every mother's dream? No cooking. Not a finger lifted. No dislocating my shoulder lugging a frozen turkey home from the store, no splashing brine all over myself trying to tenderize the thing, no going cross-eyed trying to evaluate a million different recipes for stuffing.


Yes, dear reader, we were guests at someone else's table this year. Now. Ready for the best part?

OUR HOSTESS DIDN'T COOK, EITHER.

She ordered dinner from Byerley's. I realize she did this entirely on her own, but I like to think I was the inspiration for this. A few years ago I discovered the secret to holiday peace was to order the food pre-cooked from the grocery store. You might not get Grandma's recipe for apple pie or your cousin's fabulous stuffing, but do you really need perfection at the holidays?

You do not. You need sanity. You need peace. You need your shoulder blades to stay where they're supposed to be.

The first time I ordered a dinner I think it was Easter. Imagine my joy when I found out I could order it for Christmas. And imagine my disappointment when I found out the store only offered this incredible deal at major holidays. I then contemplated ordering six Easter dinners at once and freezing them to eat over the next few months, but I ran out of freezer room.

I'm not sure when my aversion to cooking set in, but it was fairly recently. I used to love the cookbook aisle at the Barnes and Noble. I loved browsing food magazines, especially when I was feeling a little hungry. But somewhere along the way I just ran out of enthusiasm. It got so I had to drag myself into the kitchen. Then half the time all I could do was pull a couple of takeout menus out of the drawer.

Maybe cooking was more fun before we had to start watching our calories. There's a joy in butter, and don't get me started on sugar and shortening.

But now. Health, fat, the threat of the scale. Food is just not fun any more.

And if food has lost its fun, well, cooking doesn't have a prayer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another One of Those Lists

I found this at Happy Catholic. You're supposed to note the ones you've read and (separately) the ones you've read parts of.

So let's see. I've read 1,3,5,7,8,10,11, 12 (I think), 13,16,18,20,22,,25,29,32-38,41,45,46,48,49,54,57,59,61.62,66,68, 70-73,75, 76,80,81, 87,92,95 and 98.

I am currently reading #79.

I"ve read parts of:

2,4,6,9,14,15,21,24,27,39,,31,40,42,43,47, 63,83,85,89,91,and 94.

Taking this quiz I realize I don't have a lot of patience for Russians or Frenchmen.
Hey, it passes the time.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (but I"m working on it)

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (This is NOT a classic and is mean spirited enough to make it never become one in my book ... stick to his history-ish books, not the travel guides)

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Fall!

I just fell on the ice. Right outside my back door. I was going to step outside with the dogs-- they like a little company when I put them out in the morning- and the next thing I knew I was flat on my back with a worried labrador in my face.

And so it begins, another Minnesota winter. Back in New York the fall leaves are still on the trees. We have already had our first snowstorm, two weeks ago. The snow is still on the ground, in that unattractive rocky gray ice form it gets after a few days. Lovely.

I try to get enthusiastic about winter, I really do. I check out the price of high-tech snowshoes in Costco. I read up on the latest in cold weather gear. I even flip through all the L.L. Bean Winter catalogs. Anybody want to buy some scented firewood? I know where you can get some, cheap.

But no. I look at the snow and the ice and the outdoor thermometer and I want to move to the tropics. or just stay inside.

Which, given how my day started, would probably have been the best course of action.