Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What I Am Reading and Watching

I am trying my best to read more books. Why? Because I have always loved to read and with technology making all sorts of info easy to obtain via the internet and me having a very active almost three year old, well, holding a real book is somewhat a welcome reprieve.

The graphic novel Watchmen may not appeal to everyone, but writer Alan Moore has an incredible gift for storytelling. This particular story is brutal, ugly, real and intense. The colorist and inker brought his characters and words to life in the perfect way as well. Very impressive.

Smoke and Mirrors;  A short story collection by Neil Gaiman. This is from 1998 and I ordered this from the library with good reason. Recently Mr. Gaiman's latest children's book, The Sleeper and The Spindle, created all sorts of hullababloo because of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White having a kiss. When I saw him speak he apologized to the gay community because the one photo from the story had been taken out of context. This is NOT an LGBT representation of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and he felt like people were being misled. Anyway, reading about that book on some website, someone mentioned a story called, "Snow, Glass, Apples" and how it disturbed them to this day. I looked it up, saw it was in Smoke and Mirrors and got the book. The story is a retelling of Snow White from the viewpoint of the Queen. I have to agree, if you read it, it could mess up the whole Disney way of telling the Grimm story for a lifetime. I still cannot get over the last few pages. There is a website called "The Dreaming" that has the story online. You cannot link to it because the story was used for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which Neil is a big part of so I respect and understand. I would suggest that you either look the story up yourself or go to the library. This is not a faint of heart story in the least. You have been warned.

Later on today I am going to pick up another book I ordered from the library. It is a memoir called I'll Drink To That: A Life In Style, With A Twist. It was written by Betty Halbreich, the 86 year old personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman's for the last 40 years. I am really looking forward to reading this!!

Someone suggested I watch the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun". I hemmed and hawed and finally watched it because Netflix will be removing it on November 1.
Now, I blame my hormones here, but I teared up and got emotional more than once. Views of Florence? Sob. Views of Positano? Sob, sob. I have been to Italy so I am not complaining about things I may have missed, but I do miss the country to the point where there are times I think about it in a Utopian sense which is dangerous. No place is perfect, but for vacation, Italy is it in my mind.

Diane Lane's character is a writer who goes to Italy, at the behest of friends, after her marriage falls apart. That is all I am telling you, but I will say, I operate under a very heavy delusion that if I had a villa, like in the movie, to go focus on writing my novel, then I would be done and all would be right with the world.
Drama comes easy to me. I was born under the sign of Cancer and I am an unpublished writer. You pity those around me, eh? Hee hee hee.

So that is it for me my friends, hope you all have some good reading or movie watching to do yourself and I will let you know what is next in my queue and when I get there.


Friday, October 24, 2014

A Delicious Modified Recipe

Tonight I made pasta and napa cabbage with soy chorizo for dinner and sadly, there is just a bit of cabbage and leeks and chorizo left that we will add to eggs and rice for breakfast tomorrow.

It was that damn tasty.

I found this outstanding recipe on Pham Fatale and it is called: Trenne Pasta with Napa Cabbage and Chorizo. She makes her own soy chorizo, God Bless.

Here is what I did differently in the recipe.  I used rigatoni, left out the potato, nutmeg, parsley, tomato sauce, tomato paste and instead of Tobasco I used Siracha.

This is a seriously hearty dish and I am sure if you are not little piglets like me and mine, you will have leftovers to enjoy. Or at least have a bit left for breakfast like we are ;-)


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


We received two delicata squash in our CSA box last Thursday and so the internet recipe search began.
I found this terrific recipe from For The Love of Cooking. It accompanied salmon and homemade biscuits. I pan fried the salmon with this incredibly tasty Maple Pepper with garlic seasoning my husband picked up for me in New Hampshire. I admit I am a touch addicted to this seasoning and will find any excuse to use it on something.
As for the squash recipe I am a big fan and will definitely make it this way again.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Dream Come True

On Thursday, October 16. I drove to the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison and got to hear Neil Gaiman speak.


If you know me at all you know I have a thing for this man and his work. Not in the seduction Oooh la la kind of way. More in the, please mentor me because you are so fucking fantastic kind of way.

Let me share my blurry photos.

He is giving us his shaggy haired profile. This was right after he walked into the room and I gasped like an ecstatic schoolgirl.

Wesley Stace interviewed him for FDU's annual WAMFEST.  The artist Michael Arthur drew the entire time the interview went on, capturing details from the conversation in this incredible piece of artwork.

It is a complete fluke that I found out about this event. The night before I randomly went on Neil Gaiman's blog and clicked on "Where's Neil?" And there it was. He was going to be in Madison,  New Jersey. What are the chances?!?! This caused me to almost stroke out. My husband then insisted that I try to get a reservation. Shockingly, I was able to do so and my main squeeze arranged to come home from work early so I could go and see Neil speak. I am forever grateful to my hubby for indulging me in that way.
Surreal does not cover how the first few minutes felt. Then it was perfect. Neil was funny, interesting and just someone I wish I could have hugged and thanked him for writing wonderful stories. I did record his answer to the last question of the day which was what sort of advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career as a fantasy writer. I can't post the video because I do not have the rights, but his immediate answer was to read everything. Don't just read fantasy, read anything you can get your hands on because that variety will help you. I will see if I can transcribe some of that answer for you.

There was no meet and greet, bummer because I brought one of his graphic novels, 1602 to be signed, but there is always next time. And there will most certainly be a next time. Hooray!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bette Davis

She truly rocks.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Has Come and a Special Visitor

Leaves are everywhere. The temperatures are cooler. My garden is giving its last hurrah while the trees prepare to slumber. I have to say I am impressed with the marigolds hanging tough considering their seeds come from Spain and I would figure this recent chill would have killed them by now.

In honor of fall I am making a roasted cauliflower soup with cumin for dinner tonight.

And we have a little guest that has been hanging around since Friday.

I adore the Praying Mantis, don't you? We first spotted it when my son almost ran it over with his toy car.

 The next day it appeared among the Baptisia leaves.

Today it was on the rocks by the lavender. I hope it is going to lay eggs somewhere. Little Mantises for everyone! Or at least for me :) Japanese beetles be gone!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Being Okay With What You Have

You know you are depriving yourself right? Your house is too small, you drive the wrong car, your clothes are from two seasons ago, your hair style is boring and let's face it, your vacation plans could do with some upgrading. You deserve it. You worked hard, you could die tomorrow, you need to live and spend money and enjoy yourself.
While we are all susceptible to a touch of "Keeping Up With The Joneses", it is high time we stop putting ourselves in cycles that can only beat us down. Sure I like a high end kitchen or a piece of jewelry from Van Cleef and Arpels like the next person, but I also understand I will most likely never spend $200,000 on a pair of earrings and I am okay with that. Believe it or not, I have met people in my time, that have been covetous of such things. I knew a young lady who lived in a very nice neighborhood and a very nice home with a pool and she was angry her parents did not try to live in a more tony area with better houses.


The way we are told to constantly want is disgusting and brutal, especially to the younger generations growing up with technology that lets them order anything at a snap. Will these youngsters be able to actually do anything themselves God only knows, but I have hope.

I do read a lot of simple living/frugal/homesteading blogs because it is a topic that interests me. Concepts of money are seriously lacking in all groups and any bit of knowledge helps. One are I think women are most susceptible is the wardrobe.

I remember being a teenager and going to the mall, working there as well, and spending money on the latest fashions. I was careful not to spend too much, who doesn't love a bargain, but at the same time, I was also easily swayed by what the fashion magazines told me I needed to have and how I should look. Note to all women: when you look at a model remember, doing your makeup or hair that way or buying those particular jeans will NOT make you look like them in any way. If only my fifteen year old self had understood that better.

These days my clothing and show collection is far from what it was in my twenties. Sometimes I am sad but mostly I am fine. I do need better ways to accessorize, but that is on my and what I have. There are tons of fashion blogs out there, even minimalist ones, but some of them are all about the pricey trends or too hardcore or too black and white monochrome for me. Anyway, my rambling point here is this morning, I just discovered a wonderful blog that makes paring down your wardrobe a fun experience. The owner of the blog, Courtney, states, "Project 333 is a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months."
That is absolutely doable. Check her Getting Started page and roll with that.
Her message is simple. Clothes do not define you. They do not make you a better person or make you less than. Buying a $300 pair of jeans will not change your life except add more debt. You are worth more than that because the best things are not things.
I can get behind her ideas because people are made to feel like shit enough these days. Experiences are more important, living is more important, not going broke to do such a thing, even more important.
So if you have the time, like I will later, read through her entries, see what grabs you and maybe feel better about pairing down or letting go or learning how to without remorse. I like her idea of taking pictures of a sentimental piece of clothing you do not wear then giving it away. Sometimes a sweet memory is all we need.