Monday, June 22, 2009

Cesar's Way

In eager anticipation for our future puppy (still a few months out), Chris and I have started reading training books. Of course, that means all other books have been relegated back to the "to be read" pile. This weekend, I read the bestseller "Cesar's Way", and, to be honest, it deserves to have sold every copy that it has. I thoroughly enjoyed it, learned a ton, and am glad it's on my bookshelf. It did name drop a little excessively, but other than that, was everything I hoped it would be. Remember, your dog needs Exercise, THEN Discipline, THEN Affection...and be the best Calm, Assertive person you can be. Grade: A

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sharing Every Day

A couple of days ago, I was at the bank, and the teller asked how I was...for some reason it took me a moment to answer. He asked about my pause, and I responded that I just had to process the question. We got into a discussion about how frequently people tend to just brush people off in every day life, and fail to stop and talk with those around them. I shared a story about how my boss, knowing I am a disgustingly cheerful morning person, once bet me that I couldn't say "hello" in my cheerful, sing-song way to every person we met on our travels to a client site. If I could, he would buy my morning cup of coffee. (You have to realize that our travels start with a 6:19am train, and so this is truly a test of my morning-person-ness.) Not only did I sing-song to people we knew, or interacted with, but EVERY...SINGLE...PERSON we passed in the train station, and on our walk. Needless to say I won my coffee. And also made quite a few people smile.

The conversation at the bank just reminded me how important it is to connect. Also, how I used to lament the cold nature of the east coast when I originally moved here. So, post-bank, I am again making an effort to have "real" conversations with people I interact with. You really notice a response, too! I am pleased to say that the woman at the grocery store (who got off work in 45 minutes, but was tormented by a clock that always had the wrong time on it), and the nurse who drew my blood (and explained how the yellow goo in the vial helped separate the blood serum, and remembered me coming in two days in a row), both responded very well, as did countless others. So, I hope I can continue to be a sickeningly cheerful person. Nudge me if I forget.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Take a Chance Challenge

So, the next challenge I plan to participate in is the Take a Chance Challenge. This involves new and innovative ways of either finding a book, or reviewing it. I figure I'll just do the challenges in order. So task number 1:

Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)

My plan: I will find a shelving unit and select the bottom row, 10th book. I'll let you know what I end up with!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The World Without Us

Well, the Challenge is now over, with my total only being around 6.5 hours. Didn't finish The World Without Us, but have been enjoying it, and I'll write up the review to where I've reached.

The World Without Us was turned into a television special, which I've seen a few times, and may have done a better job. I'm thoroughly enjoying the book, but it does sometimes go off on tangents, or get bogged down in facts. I'm a complete dork, though, and appreciate it. Can't say I think it would be for everyone. I was laughing, though, as Chris was writing a paper for class on urban stream management, and I was reading a chapter on how Manhattan's rivers that had been forced underground, would likely be an early factor in the city's deterioration after humans disappeared. I will finish the book, and will enjoy doing so, but you have to remember that we have an environmental, hippy bent to us, and so it may be of interest to a narrow group of people. Grade: B+.

Last Night at the Lobster

So, the challenge has not gone well. I was getting sick trying to read in the car, then the wedding, then went and played wiffleball with friends once I got home. a grand total of 3.5 hours so far, I have one book done.

Last Night at the Lobster was a wonderfully written book. Not really something you want to read if you are looking for "light and happy", though. The book centers around the manager of a Red Lobster, that has been slated to close the next day. It is how he faces the last night of the restaurant, the last time he'll see a former girlfriend who waitresses there, and a snow storm to boot. It is touching, and you can't help but love, respect, and pity Manny throughout the last hours he works. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Grade: A.

Friday, June 5, 2009

48 hour book challenge kick off!

I will be starting around noon today once I pick up Chris and we're driving to Pittsburgh for his cousin's wedding. I won't be able to read for much of the 48 hours, but so be it. It'll be fun with what I manage. I also won't be in front of a computer to blog until after we get home tomorrow afternoon. Packed in my bag are:

Last Night at the Lobster by: Stewart O'Nan

The World Without Us by: Alan Weisman

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Things We Love

There is little I love more than pita bread and hummus. I even grew up in an unusual family, filled with vegetarians, and many members that were not born in the United States. Therefore, as a first and second grader, I would show up in the school cafeteria with my flat bread, and bean paste, and get made fun of a little bit. When I ran out of both a couple days ago, and we're trying to use up food before we move, what was I supposed to do but make them from scratch? I had all the ingredients... Of course, I had to make tahini from sesame seeds and olive oil (surprisingly easy!), and it was a new adventure, but it all turned out great! Don't know if I'll buy them all from the store again! Quick rundown:


1 cup of sesame seeds

1/3 cup olive oil

-Process together in a food processer until smooth


1 can garbanzo beans

2 Tbl Olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup roasted red peppers

1 1/2 Tbl tahini

1 lemon (skin removed)

-All of these are largely to taste. Again, rev up that food processor!

Pita bread:

1 packet yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 1/2 tsp sugar

-Start the yeast in the warm water w/ the sugar, let it froth up (about 15 minutes)

3 cups flour

1 1/4 tsp salt

- Pour yeast into a well in the center of the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add 1 cup of warm water, stir together. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and not sticky. Let it rise for 3 hours in a oiled, covered bowl.

- Roll into a rope, tear into 12 balls, cover and let rise for 10 minutes.

- Heat oven and cookie sheets to 500 degrees.

- Roll balls into circles 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 4 minutes until puffed, flip, bake another 2 minutes.

- Remove from oven, smush with spatula, store in bags.

See?!?! SOOOOO easy. And...I'm putting all this down from memory, so don't try this too quick, I might have to check on some measurements.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

48 hours to the 48 hour challenge

So, I'm getting excited! I haven't felt like reading much at all recently, though, so this is slightly odd. Anyway, we are officially 48 hours away from the 48 hour book challenge . I decided to just try and read books that have been sitting on my shelf untouched. I know, no theme, I should be ashamed. Hopefully, the fact that I liked them enough to buy them will make them interesting enough!