Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Alloy anniversary

As of yesterday, the Mister and I have been married for seven years.  Despite many recommendations from the gift industry, we did not buy each other desk sets to commenerate the day.
(The desk set anniversary?  Really?)
We decided earlier in the year that we are going to buy an interesting kitchen item for our anniversary each year, but didn't decide if we are going to buy a new one or count the mandoline he purchased early in the spring.  Maybe 7 years is the "Broken Cuisinart Lid Replacement" anniversary.
We are such romantics!
And speaking of romance, one of the reasons The Mister is right for me is that he deliberately mows around interesting weeds in the lawn [photos of cool volunteers towering over ugly lawn intended to go here, but we're traveling and the technology is not obviously compatible at the moment].  Another is that even though we are going out for a special meal tonight, it's my birthday meal, so we're going out for a different meal for our anniversary while in Denver in two weeks.  Yet another is that he is apparently the only person in the world who can pour Dianthus's juice correctly, and he does it.  Everyday.  Multiple times a day.
And speaking of romance, the Mister jokingly asked when the "brass anniversary" is.  There are two different bronze anniversaries, but finding brass takes some doing.
Somebody says it's seven.
Happy Brass Mister.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A little acid to brighten up STIR

The thing about acid is that, in the right dose, it can brighten up any dish.

My summer reading needs a bit of brightening.  I carried One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,  the May/June STIR book around for weeks.  I finally sat down to read it.  I managed five pages before deciding it was too depressing for me now (that statement may cause my  Brother in Law to shake his head sadly and wonder just how "lite" I need my reading to be, and many others of you to shake your heads because it is a great book*). So I picked up The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  My Mother had given it to me for my birthday and, to me, it has the title of a quirky book (and a star one at that).  I was two pages in before I fully realized I had traded cruel treatment in a mental institution for teenagers with terminal cancer.  Terminal cancer won.
The Fault in Our Stars suffers a bit from a Juno complex (the teenagers are way too witty for their own good), but is generally fabulous-- if you are into romantic comedies about teenagers about to die.  I highly recommend it for a lot of my reading audience.  There's also a fabulous champagne scene tying stars to sparkling wine (using the alleged Dom Perignon quote, "Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!"), a few sucker punches plot-wise, and a lot to think about (teenage cancer patients being more worried about their what happens to their parents after they die than about their own fates, for instance).
In any case, Janet, was here over the weekend (hooray for friends who visit!) and we decided I needed an "acid" book this year.  Janet and I like to read "recent classics" (Graham Greene last year, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Faulkner were under consideration for this year).  So, even though it is officially off-limits for being officially non-fiction, the July STIR selection is The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe.  Acid! Classic! and with references to the author of the book I didn't read.  Join us if you'd like.

Speaking of STIR books, I realized two from last fall were mostly overlooked during the Juno's Daughters craziness.  I still highly recommend, and would still like to more discuss The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  The former is a short novel with a masterful building of tension, the latter an account of where cells we research really came from.

Other books I've recently read (recently being the first half of the year):  The Lacuna: Barbara Kingsolver's latest novel I found super-engrossing for the first half (Mom needs to read it) and good for the second half.  The first was one of the best half of a book I've read in a long time.   What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell which was perhaps a bit more entertaining than Outliers because, as a collection of articles, it has less of a point and a more interesting range.  NutureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman: a scary evidence-based book about child behavior that explains how we are doing it all wrong.    Highland Fling: a romantic comedy by Katie Fforde. I enjoy Fforde because her characters are always not-gorgeous, working, and more often than not, gardening and that was true of this one as well, but I liked Wild Designs and Second Thyme AroundToss the Bride by Jennifer Manske Fenske: fun, but not as well-written as those by Fforde or Jennifer Crusie.  Bet Me: one of my new favorites from the aforementioned Crusie.

*If you read One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, let me know and I'll try to set up a discussion with Debbie, the book's selector. And maybe me. Someday,