movie: A Man Named Pearl

Amazing movie. Pearl lives in rural South Carolina and created a huge topiary garden, because his neighbors complained that he was not taking care of his yard.

Very inspiring.

Check out the website here.


book review: the art of eating in

The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove
by Cathy Erway

Operation prepare for the baby/learn to self motivate has had some competition from operation hotter than hell outside/TV calling. Some days I self motivate, some days I watch TV.

But after taking back all of the labor books to the library I happened upon this book in the new books section. Bringing new books home to read from the library is strictly prohibited right now. We need books going OUT.

But one thing I have wanted to work on is eating at home more, especially since I am not working. It is a good way to save money and I am a decent cook (queue comment from Brent.) As a child, we only went out to eat for special occasions. But somewhere along the line, eating out became something that was just a normal part of my life. Even when I am bored with the food options, I often don't get my act together to bring my lunch to work.

The author spent two years not eating out in New York city. In fact that is what her blog is called: Not Eating Out in New York.

I can imagine her blog and book could readily be compared to the blog that inspired Julie and Julia. But her book is better that that book. By far!

Erway chronicles all the different experiences she has while eating at home. She learns how to cook new things, although the title is a bit mis-leading, because she is already a great cook when she started the experiment. She hangs out with friends at home, she goes on picnics, she goes to food cook-offs.

Unfortunately, we don't have similar palates, so many of her recipes I would not try, but she has inspired me to be more creative with my cooking. And her blog is great too.




other books

Ok, so I have read some other books I don't feel like reviewing more than a little bit. This a cop out. I know that.

The Wild Life of our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We are Today
By Rob Dunn

Great, great book. Loved it. Go read it. It will change your life. Or call me, and I will tell you why I loved it.

Forget Sorrow

by Belle Yang

This book is a lot like Maus by Art Spiegelman. It chronicles her family's history and then plight in China before coming to America. If you like graphic novels, pick it up.

The Parrot Who Thought She Was A Dog
by Nancy Ellis-Bell

Cute book about a crazy animal woman. She adopts animals, even birds who threaten to bite her at every moment. Quick read. If you are into animals, this is a book for you.


book review: slow love

slow love: how I got knocked off the fast track and put my pajamas on for a year and found happiness.
by Dominique Browning

I read this awhile ago. It was, the opposite of a coming of age story, I suppose. It was more of a coming to terms with latter middle-age story. The author was the chief editor of House & Garden, until the magazine closed. Then she really did not know what to do with herself. She became depressed. She also had a rather un-fulfilling relationship with a married man for many years. (Reading about said relationship was one of the most annoying parts of the book.)

I now consider the need to learn how to self motivate again. Perhaps this is what she was really doing in the book: learning how to self motivate without the looming deadline of a magazine to produce.

So many people I work with say they just don't know what they would do with themselves if they did not have to work...I have lots to do...but I am still learning how exactly to self motivate myself. This week has gone well so far.

Anyway, the book. It was ok.

I did like her guiding piece of decorating advice: create as many lovely places in which to sit and read as possible in your home.


book review: the wave, in pursuit of the rogues, freaks, and giants of the ocean

The Wave
by Susan Casey

I read this book right away when it came out a few months ago...and LOVED it. So why have I not written the review yet? One word: jealousy. I had this idea to write a book about giant waves, from an article in the New York Times. Hundreds of ships go missing annually. For years they had no idea why...but now we know that the sailors stories of giant waves were not just tall tales.

But I did not write the book. Mrs. Casey did.

She took an interesting tact: she interwove the science of the waves with the stories of surfers trying to surf giant waves. It works well. You get the personal interest stories coupled with the scary science. (FYI: no cruises for me, ever, thank you very much.)

For example, there are landslide-induced tsunamis. These happen under water. 8,000 years ago a piece of shelf the size of Kentucky gave way off the coast of Norway. The slide might have been caused by methane hydrates, or spherical gas deposits frozen into the sea floor. Changes in the temperature of the ocean could trigger more of these spheres to explode. Changes as little as one degree will set them off, leading to giant waves and vast clouds of methane going into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas ten times more potent than carbon dioxide. Scary stuff.

Oh and the USGS conservatively estimates that twice the carbon found in all fossil fuels in the world is contained in these ice balls.

Bottom line is that the book is a great example of non-fiction done well.


intimacy update...better!

I heard from the store manager. She was very apologetic and offered to send me a bra to try. I will let everyone know how it works...


lil' bean n' green: cafe n' play

In Toronto we stumbled across this cute little cafe...well half cafe and half playroom. The front of the space was dedicated to food and coffee for adults. In the middle of the space there was a little garden gate, behind which all kinds of fun toys awaited children. What a great idea for parents?

Check out their website:

I could see this working on other cold places...like Montana.


babymoon in toronto

A babymoon is like a honeymoon but before your have your first child. It is a cute idea...well at least I think so. Grammy found it to be really really funny.

We went to Toronto this weekend. What a lovely city. We walked all over, and I am still exhausted from the trip. I would highly recommend visiting Toronto. We stayed at this cute little hipster hotel called The Drake. The staff were super. They really could not have been more helpful.

Click here to see pictures from our trip!


military service

Once people are dead, you can request their military service records. I finally got around to doing this for my dad. It is so interesting. He joined the Air Force when he was 18, in 1958. He never talked about being in the military. He did mention, somewhat vaguely, that he was in Libya during the Vietnam War. But who knew if that was true? It was true...kind of...he was there for 5 months, and according to the records he gained 20 pounds being there. Strange. I can't figure out what he was doing in Tripoli quite yet. I need someone to interpret the military speak for me.

I love seeing how his signature changed over the years, becoming more and more unrecognizable.