Trick, no treat!

I am SO bummed!  I told you how I’d read that book on the Secret Service and really enjoyed it.  When I saw there was another, written by the same author, I scooped it up.

1st family

Shame on you Mr. Kessler!  Shame on your publisher, too!  And shame on me for falling for the fact that this is virtually the same book as the first one I read.  By virtually the same, I mean I was tempted to pull out the original one because I’m certain that the stories were cut and pasted into this book.  Can you plagiarise your own work??  I feel tricked!  Cheated out of my time and cashola.  No treats for you, Mr. Kessler!  That’s your loss because I’m getting ready to make some black and white cupcakes….

What day is it?

“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”  – A.A. Milne

I’m in my office today which is the best.  It means I can work, catch up on laundry, get dinner prepped without the usual chaos and just chill a bit.  What do you mean that doesn’t sound like chillin’.  It totally is, trust me!  Especially for those of us that are still playing taxi driver for everyone.

Hutton

Hockey season has begun and the goalie has been asked to play “up” which he is thrilled about.  Me?  Well, may I just say that it now means I get home on practice nights at 10pm!  Ouch!  Still, the boy is so happy that it’s hard to say no to the opportunity.  I signed him up to go to this charity hockey thing a few weeks ago.  The Predators backup goalie, Carter Hutton, spent some time with him, one on one, which really made such an amazing impression.  Sports heroes out there – you have no idea how much your kindness impacts tiny humans.  For those that do it well, like Mr. Hutton, thank you.

secret service

I have a thing for the White House, biographies and history books.  This is a bit odd given that I was not a fan of history classes in school.  For some unknown reason, one of the books I read earlier this year had me curious about the Secret Service.  I picked up In the President’s Secret Service.  It’s an interesting, gossipy and  sometime disturbing look at the Secret Service, its protectees and how the Service has changed over the years, especially since 9/11.  The author quotes, by name, former and present Secret Service personnel, which I found both surprising and insightful.  Of particular interest, to me, were the descriptions of a few people who are in the national spotlight everyday.  A very interesting and quick read.

It’s been a bit rainy here, cooler too (yay, yay, yay!).  I made some soup for my friend, Amy and her poor hubby, that was in that awful bike accident last week. Like a lot of people I’ve made this for, she asked for the recipe.  Thought I’d pass it along to you guys as well.

soup

Pasta e Fagioli (totally copycatted from the Olive Garden)

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced or julienned (I usually chop a large handful or two of baby carrots as I always have them on hand)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic minced or chopped
  • 1 each, 15 0z can of red kidney beans and great northern beans, with liquid
  • 1 large can, 28 oz of diced tomatoes
  • 1, 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can of V8 juice (11 or so oz)
  • 1 Tbs tabasco
  • 1 tsp each of basil, oregano and salt
  • 1/2 tsp of thyme leaves and black pepper
  • Ditalini pasta (I never measure this, I just make enough for what I plan to serve that night)

Cook the ground beef until just barely pink, drain off most of the fat.  Add to the ground beef the garlic, onion, celery and carrots and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until beginning to soften.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the pasta.  Allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Add the cooked pasta to your soup/bowls (see above note about freezing).  Enjoy!

One More Day!!!

One more day until Friday!  Yippee!  And I’m not even going to the shore like my friend, Libby!

How’s your week going?  Been the usual craziness here.  Had a friend whose hubby was in a bike accident.  Yes, bike, not motorcycle.  Read as broken clavicle, eight or so broken ribs, fractured hip AND a tear in his aorta.  Then, because all that wasn’t enough, he’s gotten pneumonia!  Ouch, ouch, ouch!!!  I’ve been trying to help out with her kids and putting together a meal or two.  Seriously, this is too much drama.  Next week, I’m requesting a heavy dose of BORING.  A girl can dream, right?

Speaking of dream.  My hot boyfriend, Adam, is back on television along with new tv shows!  You know what that means, right?  DVR time!  I’ve purchased wine and am trying to plan something yummy for dinner.  Shrimp Scampi Pasta has been my go to but I’m thinking maybe something new…..hmm.  Any ideas??

why not me

I finished another book, Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me?  After much back and forth, I’ll admit that I liked it.  It was funny, irritating, honest, full of insecurity and strong female things.  How’s that for a description?

I’m not really familiar with the Mindy Project nor have I ever seen “The Office”.  I know, I know…..but I’ve previously explained the three DVR household in which I live.  Supposedly, I’ve a responsibility to the people to go to work, take care of them, blah, blah, blah.  It really interferes, sometimes!  Anyway, I probably spent the first half or so being annoyed with the book because she kept referring to various people as “white”.  I’m half Indian, as in from India.  But, my dad was a blond-haired, blue-eyed Chicagoan (where I, too, was born).  I don’t think of myself as white, or non-white, or Indian or anything else.  Maybe that’s weird?  I’ve a cousin who visited last year that referred to me as being white.  I remember being confused and a bit annoyed by that.  Why do I get a label?  Any label?  I’m sure this is just a me thing but I am an American, a melting pot of culture and all that.  I’m checking to see if that’s a box on a form.  But, back to the book.  Once I got past the label thing, I found I enjoyed it.  I’ve a drier sense of humor than she does and I suppose I like more linear stories but I found her honest, funny and very normal.  I’ll add that, highlights for me, were her friendship with B.J. Novak and the essay written by her mentor.  Good stuff.  If you’ve a small person, you MUST check out Novak’s The Book With No Pictures.  It’s simply the bomb!

Happy Thursday!

Magic Fairy Dust

I think I’ve explained my thought process on books, yes?  I can typically find something nice or redeeming about everything I read.  When asked to rate books on sites like Goodreads, I’m pretty much consistent with two to four stars.  It takes a lot for me to give five stars to a book.  I notice this has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older….maybe I’m just pickier or maybe it’s that I’ve read enough to realize the difference between an enjoyable read and an outstanding one.

nightengale

This past weekend I had a list of things that needed doing:  bills to pay, a home to clean, food to cook or bake.  But, I was tired.  I thought I’d just start a new book.  Read and relax for an hour or so.  Sounds nice, right?  No!  Write this down.  It was awesome!  I did not do a single thing on the to do list!  What I did, instead, was read The Nightingale from start to finish.  I would definitely call it a five-star read.  Set against the backdrop of WWII, it was everything that you might expect, heartbreakingly sad, full of horrors that, no matter how much I learn about I can never, thank goodness, fully comprehend.  It was also full of hope, of small kindnesses, of the belief that even amongst the very worst that there are still many people of strength, character and love.  I want to read it again.  I want to give it to everyone I know.  I want to always remember that even in the darkest of days that there are those willing to help, to lend a hand, to offer a smile, to offer hope.

Nothin’ doin’!

Hello!  Happy Monday!  I am not at work today!  Happy Dance!

All those exclamation marks?  Those are the sound of my soul having had a much needed weekend of nothingness.  Okay, really, 24 hours of nothingness but you take what you can get sometimes.

I took M to the doc for his two-week post op visit.  Seems the two-week bubble around his eye is going to take another FOUR weeks to go away.  Read as my alternate limo driver career is safe.  Whew!  He was really bummed by this news….no, not the being driven around.  Because I’m super helpful, I reminded him that six to eight weeks of not being able to see is so much better than a lifetime of it.  Sometimes, it’s the big things, yo!

I’m still working way too much with my various jobs so you know I was ready for some Friday action.  Dinner and a movie night got replaced with let’s have dinner with the ENTIRE family at a yucky restaurant (I didn’t get to choose) followed by, hey, mom’s spending the night in the house which has not been cleaned.  (I might still be searching for those damn house elves and fairies!)  Mom, was fairly relaxed and low-key, no doubt pleased that I had volunteered to take her to the airport despite being told her international flight was at 5am.  She’s off to Prague and a trip through Europe.  Living vicariously is the same as sleep, right?

bossypants

I’ve had Bossypants on my “to read” list for a while.  Since it came out, actually.  Yes, I might be a bit behind.  This is another book that has sold so well, gotten really great reviews.  After reading it, I have to admit that, I was left wanting.  I love Tina Fey.  I think she’s hilarious.  She does have some good stories in the book.  She does.  It’s simply that the book is a mess.  It doesn’t flow.  It’s kind of like watching a ping-pong ball in an hours long match.  Maybe she’s one of those comedians that I need to see and hear.  Maybe, she’s better in small doses.  I think it is likely that I was so delighted with Amy Poehler’s book that my expectations might have been unreasonable.  I’m not sorry I read it but I think I’ll stick to watching the talented Ms. Fey on television.

It’s TWOsday!

Happy Tuesday!  I’m a bit grumpy today as I’m still trying to do everything and some people, may or may not be taking a bit of advantage.  Or, it could be that I’m tired and being a meanie….nah, it’s probably him.  😉

I HAVE SET A BOOK DOWN!  I know, shocking!

devil

I tried to read this, I really did.  But, then I remembered The Garden of Beasts which I read, finished and despised.  I know there’s probably a good story there but, for me, it’s lost in a wealth of minutiae.  I’m tired these days so it is entirely possible that it’s not the book’s fault.  Still, the “books to read” list grows ever longer so who cares!

Now, for the good stuff.

henrietta

I will admit to a good bit of nerdiness.  I love books that make you think, wonder what if, that leave you shaking your head in disbelief.  Books that stick with you.  This is one.  It’s the story of Henrietta Lacks who just happens to be the person that gave, albeit unknowingly, one of the most prolific, most studied cell lines in the scientific community.  I know, I know, it maybe doesn’t sound sexy.  But, look at it this way – say you go to the doctor, you give blood or have a biopsy done.  What becomes of that blood or tissues, do you know?  Would you be surprised to learn that it becomes the property of the lab or other part of the medical/scientific community?  Would you be surprised to learn that they could use it for scientific discovery?  Pretty great, yes?  What if the research resulted in, let’s just for fun say, a large amount of money?  Still good with it?  Do you think you should have any say in this?  Or benefit financially?  Food for thought.

The book is science based, no doubt, but it’s also the story of Henrietta and the Lacks family.  It’s compelling for so many reasons.  Pick it up.  You won’t be sorry.

Friday Funday!

I have survived the week.  I have been awesome!  But, I am so tired!  Single working moms out there, I’ll be raising a glass to you.  How ever do you manage everything all the time?  I know I could do it but I am so grateful that I don’t have to other than for a few weeks.  Rather than working on the blanket that will not end my husband’s niece’s baby blanket, I spent my teeny bit of downtime this week looking up cocktail recipes, new dessert ideas and generally just looking for fun stuff to fill the weekend with.  Clearly I believe in distracting myself in order to push through!

Truth be told, I’ll still be in the restaurant a bit this weekend though just for a small amount of time each day.  The bulk of the weekend will be spent at various ice rinks because ‘IT’S HOCKEY SEASON, MOM!’  Yeah, the goalie might be a tiny bit excited.  Maybe I’ll take along that blanket.

hockey confidential

In keeping with the hockey theme, I finished reading Hockey Confidential.  Written by TSN analyst, Bob McKenzie, it’s really a book of short stories about different people in hockey.  You don’t necessarily need to be fan of the sport to enjoy it.  I am though and I found it a really interesting read.  Admittedly, I’m not familiar with everyone represented in the various stories but there are definitely a few people that I’ll be looking out for in the future.  One that I’m interested in learning more about hasn’t much to do about hockey at all, other than all three of his sons are in the league in some fashion.  The father is a former teacher and school principal.  I found him so completely fascinating in terms of his views regarding children.  Perhaps, it is simply that I have children and I work with a lot of young people but I find that I just want to see them all do well in their lives.  Any good advice is worth paying attention to, right?

What are your plans for the weekend?  Right now I’m going to go pour a lovely glass of wine, have dinner with the family and settle in to watch a movie.  There may even be popcorn.  No doubt whatsoever that there will be chocolate.  Happy weekend!