Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ducks, Dick & a Brick

Dh caught some ducks this winter and has been pestering me to cook them.  I have never cooked duck before!!!!  I am kind of nervous.  I have Martha's instructions, which have the duck roasting for a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes, but that recipe calls for a 5-6 pound duck.*  I have two ducks that together weigh 2.5 pounds.  So...teensy little ducks.  I have a probe thermometer so I will know exactly when those little duckies hit 165 degrees.  I'm guessing like 30 minutes.  Haha  I'm going to make mini bacon muffins and a salad.  My children are already freaking out about dinner (the horror!) so the salad is partially to placate them.  Yes, my kids are weird.  Duck is too scary to try, but salad is fun to eat.  Actually Ace will probably try the duck because he is pretty adventurous at the table, but Miss E is quite entrenched in the beige phase.  The other day she tried teriyaki chicken and that was major progress.  *sigh*

It seems really weird to me that people keep calling Dick Clark America's oldest teenager.  If someone called me that I would be really offended.  I know it's because he looked younger than he was, but he didn't actually look like a teenager.  Haha  Plus why would you want to look like a teenager forever?  People are rude to young people just because they look young.  People are rude to middle-aged people when they look young, just because they look young.

Which leads me to Samantha Brick.  I know I am two weeks late talking about this, but I'm a little surprised people are being so fantastically rude to her.  Okay, her delivery sucked.  However, she has a point and I'm disappointed most people are pretending like she doesn't.  One doesn't have to be a supermodel to be treated badly by other women.  One just has to be a little prettier than the other women.  I am completely ignored by Victoria's Secret employees every time I go in there, while the middle-aged women in Crocs are well-tended.  I roll my eyes and grouse about the insecure 20-year-olds employed there.  (To the point that now I never go there.  Also I don't like the soft porn.)  I'm not a supermodel!  By any stretch of the imagination!  But like I said, you only have to be a teensy bit prettier than the insecure girl in question.  And we all know that guys give a pretty girl a pass on all kinds of behavior.  It made me sad that all the comments I read (on MSN) were like, "She's a horse."  One woman was honest - she said when she was younger women were frequently mean to her and men would hold doors for her and be so nice, and now that she weighs over 200 lbs women are nice to her and men don't see her.  I even noticed this kind of behavior when I was pregnant - invisible to guys (except those whose wives or gfs were pregnant or had just had babies - they would tell me about it), but older middle-aged women - who usually ignore me - would smile sweetly at me.  What do you think?

Lunchtime calls.  Why do we have to eat so often?  It feels sometimes like all I do is make food to be consumed by my family!  Admit it, it would be kind of nice to be a polar bear and just eat a seal once a week.

*I tried to link to the recipe, but the page just loads eternally.  Anyone else noticed that Martha Stewart's site has some page loading issues?  This is not the first time this has happened to me on her site.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

And Some Baby Pics Because Everyone Loves Her

I can't get enough of this girl.

In Which We Learn How the Earth Was Made

Last night I dreamt Dillard's made a large water park downtown without me noticing.  I stumbled upon it while walking from the hospital to the library. (Even in my dream I couldn't figure out why I was walking from the hospital to the library.)  I think Dillard's should definitely get into the business of water parks.  In my town.

Look at the love on Baby C's face!  *melts*

Ace's birthday is tomorrow, as is his birthday party.  The excited antics by both Ace & Miss E are through the roof and I am out of patience.  So my kids aren't the only ones counting down til it's partytime.  My little boy is turning 4.  He is so tall now.  Today he told me how the earth was made. 

some green
hot stuff

smashded together



Miss E said loudly there was no glue involved, to which Ace insisted even more loudly that "they glueded it and makeded it."

I introduce Ace to Rodney Yee.

I love the 3-year-old language.  Ace calls manta rays "manta rissas." I have no idea where he got that word from, but I think I actually like it better than manta ray.  Manta rissa is rather pretty.

Dh has been helping coach a baseball team and I am sick of that.  Also it is the spring salmon run, so basically just shoot me now.  Though I read a couple blogs by women whose husbands are accountants, so I know full well I have no place to complain about my husband being absent.  Tomorrow he is going fishing in the morning but is under strict orders (from me) to be home by 12 pm.  He knows his life is at stake.  I have done all the party prep - invitations, cake (airplane), goody bags, decorations, etc.  I told him he is in charge of cleaning the house. 

Invitation to Ace's party.  This is as crafty as I get, people.  Rawr.
I've been trying very recently to exercise more.  Though I deduced the following (just try to fault my logic.  I dare you):

Exercising more = sweating more = showering more.  Also exercising more often leads directly to living longer.  Living longer and taking more showers means you consume more of the earth's resources.  SO, if you really love the earth, you'll never exercise and die young.  The end.

The other day I attempted this workout routine.  Ooo-eee I'm glad only my children were witnesses.  I'm sure I looked hilarious.  The lady kept saying, okay do one mambo, one meringue, and then two side mambos with wavy arms.  I was like, wait, what's a mambo again?  It was fun, and I'll do it again.  But not in front of any adults.  Haha  (By the way, I have no idea why the lady looks so dumb on the cover pic of the workout routine.  She's dressed normally in the actual workout.)

I'm burned out again on YA fiction.  This happens to me about once a year.  I have the second book in the Chemical Garden trilogy, but it's going back to the library.  I read about 40 pages and it was just irritating me too much.

Oh and I gave up on A Distant Mirror.  I had barely cracked it in three weeks and suspected it was only going to get harder.  Some guy on goodreads who only reads non-fiction and classics said Tuchman's style can best be described as turgid and there are better books about the late Middle Ages.  I was so delighted by his use of the word turgid that I asked him for some recommendations and he responded within 5 minutes!  I love the Internet.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Language of Flowers

The Language of FlowersThe Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book gripped me - that hasn't happened in quite a while. I plowed through it in a day and a half. I recommend this to just about any woman - I love its exploration of mother/daughter relationships. Though be warned - you must be willing to temporarily reside within the thoughts and feelings of a broken girl.

I was nearly deterred by the book jacket. Talk of the Victorian meanings of flowers was off-putting and sounded annoyingly sentimental. Please don't be fooled! The book itself is the story of a girl, abandoned at age 3 weeks and raised in a series of foster homes and group homes, who reaches emancipation (age 18) and finds herself thrust into the world. Her worldview is fascinating in a terribly sad way. In her heart she knows she is unlovable and condemned to a life of solitude. Reading of her evolution was a joy. I can't say more without having to block out spoilers!

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Updated: The Pillars of the Earth Review

The Pillars of the Earth  (The Pillars of the Earth, #1)The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fascinating, gripping story. This book is the mostly action-packed story of the construction of a fictional cathedral during the High Middle Ages.

I do have some quibbles. One, the main female character Aliena. You can tell Follett was a thriller writer prior to writing this. In my experience (major over-generalization here) thriller writers are terrible at writing female characters. She was beautiful, bosomy, and her one fault was stubbornness. Like every other female character written by a man who has no idea how to write women. Also she was quite feminist, which was a really lazy move by Follett. She talked about how much she loved having income independent of her husband. The major love of her life was her husband; she was rather indifferent towards her children. Really? A medieval woman who couldn't give up her own income and offloaded the care of her children to someone else. Soooo realistic. *eyeroll*

(Preemptive defense - yes I know there are plenty of women who worked outside their homes in the middle ages, but Aliena doesn't read like a medieval woman. She reads like a modern woman, with a couple of medieval quirks.)

My other quibble was Follett's cherry-picking of historical facts. He kept the sex & violence, but couldn't write a religious character to save his life. The most realistic religious character was Philip, and even he was a bit weak sauce. Follett freely admitted his inability to write a religious character in the introduction, but I was still disappointed. Christianity was an omnipresent part of medieval life, and Follett just wasn't up the writing task. The most convincing character was William Hamleigh, though I had to skip pages just about every time he appeared. Haha

In summary, this is a really good novel, but only an okay medieval novel.

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What I didn't include in my Goodreads review was that Follett was REALLY lazy about his setting. He used concepts of nationality that frankly didn't exist. People wouldn't have been able to think about language, class and country in the ways he has them freely converse. Normans are mentioned in passing. Normans conquered the Anglo-Saxon population a mere 100 years prior to the time of this novel, yet Follett reduces Norman aristocracy and Anglo-Saxon peasantry to a linguistically and culturally homogenous population. This simply didn't exist in the Middle Ages. Jews are mentioned in passing. They are really treated pretty nicely by all the characters. All the characters do is snidely remark about borrowing money from Jews. Despite the fact that there was virulent (not to mention violent) anti-Semitism at that time. Those are just a couple of examples from off the top of my head. It's all so lazy. I think if you really want to write a novel set in the Middle Ages, you should commit to it. None of this halfway crap. I didn't love Katherine, but even that was more realistic than this novel.