Saturday, October 11, 2003

Long time, no blog, I know.

Reading: The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love was very fun. And so was our bookclub meeting, with Deb dressed as Ms. Sweet Potato Queen Minnesota, me in a pink feather boa (thanks, Deb!), Fat Mama's Knock you Naked Margaritas and plenty of trashy talk.

This month, our book is more serious and also more difficult. I will have to think when I am reading instead of laughing. We are reading Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian, a Chinese writer who has won a Nobel Prize for Literature. I have just started it so I will try to keep you posted. I am looking forward to it, if only to learn more about Chinese culture.

We are planning a girl's night out to see Under the Tuscan Sun. We read the book a couple years ago and liked it pretty well as a group. From the reviews of the movie, I know that the storyline has been changed a bit, taking out our favorite character, Ed. In the book, the author and her husband (or maybe they weren't married) buy an old villa in Italy and fix it up. It is along the lines of A Year in Provence but in Italy instead of France. Anyway, there are great scenes in the book, where the author paints vivid pictures of life at their villa: Ed, sweaty muscles glistening in the sun as he prunes the olive trees; Ed, sweaty muscles glistening in the sun as he rebuilds the stone wall; Ed, sweaty muscles... You get the picture. We all loved Ed and wondered where we could get our own. He works hard and looks good while doing it.

I read Prodigal Sons and Material Girls a couple of weeks ago. The author has some very interesting things to say about advertising and how they spend billions targeting children, starting with toddlers. Some of the facts and figures were appalling to me. He had some good advice on how to counteract the "three-headed monster" and get your children to think about how and where they spend their money and how you, as a parent, can avoid the "mom as ATM" role. Very interesting reading. I will file it away for when I have kids.

Eating: New favorite to add to our meal rotation: Betty Crocker's recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. 1 package (10oz) frozen peas and carrots (we used chopped cooked potatoes and frozen corn)--rinse and drain. Melt 1/3 C. butter in a saucepan over medium until melted. Stir in 1/3 C. flour, 1/3 C. chopped onion, salt and pepper. Cook stirring constantly until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in 1 3/4 C. chicken broth and 2/3 C. milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in vegetables and 2 1/2 to 3 C. chopped cooked chicken. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry for 9" two-crust pie (or cheat like I did and use 2 frozen pie crusts, thawed). Roll 2/3 of pastry into 13" square and place in ungreased 9x9x2 square pan. Pour chicken mixture in. Roll remaining crust into 11" square and place over filling. Turn edges under and flute. Bake 35 minutes, until golden brown. We both agreed this was very good, filling and tasty.

I finally returned the bowl to Matt (of the Pasta Salad). We have had it since July and it was in the way. He had already replaced it but I made him take it anyway. It is big and I don't have anywhere to store it. It has been sitting in the kitchen so it wouldn't be forgotten and was starting to get a little annoying.

Gardening: Just pulling up the dead ones, wondering what to do with my 3 perennials and my strawberries. Do I chop them off? Do I put mulch over them? Won't do much of anything with them today, as it is rainy and windy.

Eric has constructed a leaf composting thingy in the back yard. He saw it on some home-improvement show. It is made of posts and wire and will be full of leaves by the end of the season, then full of nice composty-stuff (whatever that is called) next year. He is excited not to have to haul it to the city yard-waste place.

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