Monday, August 30, 2010

another mouth to feed

As mentioned the other day, something has been brewing. Meet Isambard (Izzy).

He's very shy, and is currently napping/hiding under the couch. There's a lot of very slow movements going on around here.

I finished Such a Long Journey. I had to push myself through it. Not that it was bad, I just couldn't concentrate or focus or get pulled into it.

So, now I'm on 16/72 Clara Callan (2001) by Richard B. Wright. So far, so good. It has a fabulous cover - well done, Harper Perennial.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

remember saving money?

They recently opened a Trader Joe's near my office, which is convenient. Back in the day when I lived in Manhattan I would go to TJ's occasionally, but since moving to Brooklyn (far out in Brooklyn nowhere close to the one on Atlantic Ave.) I haven't been back much. Or ever, really.

Here is an interesting article about Trader Joe's and their mysterious distributors.

I went in today and picked up quite a bounty for cheap. Such as:

4 organic Gala apples
8 organic pears
1 tub of hummus
1 container of organic peanut butter
1lb of almonds
1 bag of organic carrots
1 bottle of water (I was thirsty)

All for $23. Furthermore, all TJ's milk and yogurt is rBGH free, even if it isn't organic. Hooray!

In other news, I'm still working my way through Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey. I'm not that into it, so I only get a few pages at a time. And a too-fun weekend last week, and a too-sleepy week this week makes it hard to focus.

Something exciting is also brewing, but I will discuss that on Sunday. Or after Sunday. (I'm not pregnant, so don't even go there).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Elle was an incredibly fast read. I wasn't even prepared for it, and realised 3/4 the way through that it was nearly over, and that I hadn't bought my next book from the list yet.

I went down to the Barnes & Noble in Union Square with a list of recent books on the list, thinking they would at least have one of the books. Title after title (even the ones published by big US publishers like Picador, tsk tsk) weren't in stock. In that huge B&N! The one they did have - and that one became #15. I had been dreading this one somewhat. I tried to read Rohinton Mistry's Family Matters once upon a time, and could not get into it at all. But now I've got #15 - Mistry's Such a Long Journey.

A few thoughts on Elle: I thought it was fab. It's the kind of book I really enjoy reading - a historical novel full of myth and humor. And maybe some dirty parts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

fusilli jerry

H. decided this week that he didn't want to bring his lunch (brat), so it has given me the opportunity to make something with cheese. Delicious, nutritious cheese.

Somehow I was running way too early this morning. Like, 30 minutes early. And I don't like to look too eager, so I got off the subway at Union Square and had a mosey through the farmer's market before walking up to work. Sometimes I hate the Union Square market - it is soooo busy. But not at 8:10 in the AM!

So, I picked up some of these lovelies.

And this beautiful basil!

Remember when I bought that nasty basil a few months ago? For $4? Well, this gorgeous forest of green was only $2. And I don't even know what to do with it all! Maybe tomorrow I'll buy some pine nuts, and make some pesto, and then freeze it up.

Anyway. The result of these fine finds is the Barefoot Contessa's amazing fusilli with sun-dried tomato pasta. Here's the recipe:

½-pound fusilli, cooked

Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
¾ cup black olives, (kalamata, pitted and diced
1-pound fresh mozzarella, medium diced
6 sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

5 sun dried tomatoes in oil drained
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
6 Tbls olive oil
1 clove garlic, diced
1 tsp. capers, drained
2 tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned
Add tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and chopped sun dried tomatoes to pasta. Combine sun dried tomatoes, vinegar, oil, garlic, capers, salt and pepper in processor until smooth. Pour over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil and toss well.
I exclude olives, because they are disgusting, vile, vomitous things. In the end, this is how it looks:

I also bought a few ears of corn at the market. Who can resist corn in August? My mom will only buy corn on the cob if it was picked that day. I'm not so picky, so I bagged a few and H. and I ate them before I could take photos. God, August is good.

(sorry for the blurry photos - I really hate the camera flash - it makes everything look washed out).

Friday, August 6, 2010


Last night I finished The Origin of Species, and solely for the benefit of Elissa I'll share a few comments on it.

I started off feeling negatively towards it (even before Elissa said she didn't like it), simply because it's not normally the kind of story I like to read. I fought off my own early judgements and tried to keep an open mind.

It's hard to get into a story when you don't like the protagonist. Maybe not always, maybe not when the protagonist is funny, but I didn't find Alex (or anybody in this book) funny. It's probably unfair and unreal to have been reminded of Mordecai Richler while reading this (I'm not sure exactly why I did - Montreal probably), but I kept thinking about how funny Richler's unlikeable people are, and missing that in this book.

There were a lot of times where I could identify with Alex - mostly at the worst times, like the most socially-awkward times. That probably also accounts for some of the discomfort I had with him - seeing bits of yourself in someone you don't like.

I think it was a really weird choice to win the Governor General's award. It wasn't badly written in any way, but it wasn't particularly fabously well-written, either. I didn't find it moving, and I didn't feel convinced by the transformation of Alex by the end. Not that I didn't think it was believable, it was just that I still didn't like him at the end, and I felt that his breakthrough was so slight.

And then, I thought at times it was trying to be some kind of anti-CanLit model - poking fun at CanLit when Alex teaches it as a boring course, or goes on about Margaret Atwood and her book Suvival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. As though by recognizing these things it was disassociating itself with the stereotype. At the same, the book is also ultra-Canadian in details - there's even an ongoing imagined dialogue with Peter Gzowski. So much so that I thought, as I read on the subway, that people might peek over my shoulder and wonder how on earth I came to be reading something Canadian. Yes, I did think that. It made me wonder if the GG choice was political - as if they chose it because it was the anti-CanLit. Which is not to say that I think the award winners particularly exemplify the stereotype of "CanLit" - not at all. I dunno, I haven't read enough of the winners to finish this thought or make any accusations. Maybe if I get the energy I'll whip out Survival and properly think about The Origin of Species against Atwood's themes - because we all know that is the bible of the Rules of literature in Canada. That was an intentional capital R rules!

All in all, I didn't hate it. I didn't like it. I was glad when it was over, but I didn't hate my time with it. I'm a bit baffled by the overwhelming celebration by critics (and the cover blurb from Roddy Doyle - really did he think it was that funny?), but it is very interesting to note that all the reader reviews on Amazon (.com, haven't checked .ca) have been "meh" 3-star reviews.

Next on my list is Elle by Douglas Glover (2003), but only after I finish another, non-Canadian book for a book club of more than one.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I'm not sure why I like chairs so much, but today I'm really into this Larson chair from white on white

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