Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Last Chinese Chef Author Interview

I listen diligently to "The Splendid Table," an NPR show that comes on every Saturday. It just so happens that they recently interviewed Nicole Mones, the author of our latest book club selection, The Last Chinese Chef. The book was a lot of fun to read and actually fairly informative about Chinese cuisine. So is this program. You can listen to the full show here. If you only want to hear the interview, slide the play bar to 22:30. You'll need Real Player to hear it.

Women In Art

I ran across this video surfing other blogs. Thought it was pretty cool.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Harrison's Index (with appologies to Harpers)

These numbers are the bulk of the last 3 days:

4 trips to Walmart for plants, soil and mulch
24 bags of mulch
13 bags of soil
3 azaleas
3 red twig dogwood shrubs
1 trumpet vine
1 arborvitae
5 foxglove
3 coreopsis
1.25 inches of rain
2 new whiskey barrels for carrots and beets this fall!
34 wheelbarrows full of removed clay and grass
1 very large wooden beam dug up from a new bed
2 trips to Costco for new patio furniture
1 broken hoe
1 new pickaxe
2 spent pairs of garden gloves
3 very happy people

Thursday, June 14, 2007

On Obesity

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. She mentions that after WWII, the industry of farming really took off and commodity farmers began producing twice as many calories as we need. They do this because it is the only way they can survive as farmers. Then, naturally, the food industry began finding ways to market all these calories to the general public. This passage resonated with me today:

"Obesity is generally viewed as a failure of personal resolve, with no acknowledgment of the genuine conspiracy in this historical scheme. People actually did sit in strategy meetings discussing ways to get all those surplus calories into people who neither needed nor wished to consume them. Children have been targeted especially; food companies spend over $10 billion a year selling food brands to kids, and it isn't broccoli they're pushing. Overweight children are a demographic in many ways similar to minors addicted to cigarettes, with one notable exception: their parents are usually their suppliers. We all subsidize the cheap calories with our tax dollars, the strategists make fortunes, and the overweight consumers get blamed for the violation. The perfect crime."

I swear I am going to be a vegetarian again after this summer.


Not that I really want this to get out, so don't tell anyone you heard this from me, but yesterday I was home with Hayes because it's summer and I was lax in planning anything for him to do this week, and I really enjoyed myself and my child.

I generally dread these sorts of unplanned days. In my heart I believe it's good for him not to be scheduled to death, not to have so many activities do go to that he has no time to be a kid. But I also feel annoyed when I am his only playmate and we hit about 2 o'clock. He's bored and needs entertaining and I feel for him but don't necessarily enjoy playing army men with him, or the 100th game of laser battle, and let's face it, I'll have to make dinner soon.

But yesterday, just as I am feeling this familiar sinking feeling, I got a second wind. We decided to make strawberry ice cream together and it was, well, it was fun. Hayes measured out everything and even suggested adding chocolate chips (which I am convinced he would add to ANYTHING given the chance). It was like a scene out of a Martha Stewart magazine. And then, as the ice cream was freezing, Hayes had this brilliant idea to invent a game called Stick Bomb, and it was fun. We must have played it for 2 hours. You can see pictures of it on his blog. And when I look back on yesterday, I realize I actually enjoyed myself and my son at the same time, all day. This may not seem like a minor miracle to anyone else, but for me, it is. I mean, I have fun with him at times, lots of times, but it is rare that we can spend a whole day together and still enjoy one another at bedtime. Yesterday was one of those days.

I'm not expecting to have more of these days. I mean, I'll take them if I can get them; but it's good to remember that we can have times like yesterday. It's no secret that I don't enjoy the stay-at-home-mom routine. But a surprise is always nice.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shoes Are Like Crack For Women

So I love Law and Order. I watch it religiously and I wait for the zingers that the detectives predictably spout at least twice an episode. I am watching last week when Det. Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) turns to Det. Fontana (Dennis Farina) and says, "Man, shoes are like crack for women." And I think to myself, yeah, he's right. I mean, don't necessarily feel a soaring high when I buy new shoes, but I love that feeling of finding the perfect pair: stylish, beautiful, so comfortable I could wear them all day. And it's even better when I get them for a bargain! I think the DSW may be my crack. Just two days ago I found the most fabulous pair of red pumps for a song. And really, who doesn't love having just the right shoes for every outfit? These sandals are my current favs. They have become my summer staples. Perfect for almost every summer occasion. Now if I could just find a pair in brown....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Everyone Loves Food

I am finally reading again. It must be the onset of Summer. It seems like my summer reading list has one common thread: food. I finished The Last Chinese Chef last week. It was a very good read. It was really informative and a fun story to connect all the history. I have just started Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Already I am captivated by her prose. Can't wait to finish it. On the bedside table are stacked: The Omnivore's Dilemma, 75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden, and Garlic And Sapphires. Perhaps all the gardening is seaping into the reading list :)

On the other hand, I just finished re-reading Harry Potter and The Order Of The Pheonix and I am ready to start (again) Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. I have to remember all the details before I can start the very last one! It's good to be back between the covers of a good book.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Growing Up

Hayes is getting so big. He's almost 6; he'll be in first grade next year. Four years ago I never would have believed I'd be feeling this way. He can get himself dressed. He can clean his room. He can tell funny jokes. He can carry on a full conversation. He can work the computer better that some adults. He is learning spanish. He is really his own person. And I just love him. Independence comes with a price, I know. But I am so in love with this kid right now. What am I ever going to do when he goes off to college?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Garden Passion

We've been doing a lot of gardening lately. In fact, today we created a raised bed for some lovely new veggies. It's a passion I can't seem to fully explain. I love the flowers and the fragrances of all the herbs; but the produce has really got me going. It's not that we've never planted a garden before, it's just that it's been a while. A long while. And I forgot how very satisfying and refreshing it is to plant and eat your own food. I love being in harmony with nature. I monitor those little plants every day, sometimes more than once. I can't get enough. I don't know what I'll do when we aren't planting any more. I just know that I need to keep turning the soil, nurturing the life that is planted there. Maybe we'll never move. How could I leave all my plants?