That good ol’ Southern cooking

We’d been planning our trip to Tennessee for awhile, ever since we knew what the date of my son’s college graduation would be. We had in mind several places we definitely wanted to visit – the Memphis Zoo (despite the irony of spending part of your vacation at the place you used to work), Graceland (TallGuy’s choice), and Great Smoky Mountains National Park – and more nebulous plans for other days. And we definitely had […]

Just finished: “Garlic and Sapphires”

Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichlfrom Fans of Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples know that Ruth Reichl is a wonderful memoirist–a funny, poignant, and candid storyteller whose books contain a happy mix of memories, recipes, and personal revelations. What they might not fully appreciate is that Reichl is an absolute marvel when it comes to writing about food–she can describe a dish in such satisfying detail that it becomes unnecessary for […]

I think I was a “slacker mom”

Of course, one of the great things about reading blogs is when they tip you off to stories and info you might have missed elsewhere, and today’s On Balance blog entry pointed me toward this item on “slacker moms” from USA Today. I’ve heard the term, but hadn’t really found out much about what it signified before, and what do you know…it’s not as pejorative as it sounds on the face of things, and it […]

Vacation reading

The title is a minor fib – this catch-up post includes one book I didn’t get to write about before I went out of town last week (but that’s a separate post). Family History, Dani Shapirofrom In Family History, Dani Shapiro has written such a nail biter of a plot that it’s easy to overlook just how good–and how literary–a novel this really is. Narrator Rachel Jensen is a housewife and art restorer married […]

Respecting the right to choose

Don’t get the wrong idea – that title’s not a reference to the abortion issue. Not going there. A blog post in On Balance spurred some thoughts on the ongoing conversation (argument? debate? discussion? knock-down drag-out?) regarding the choices of women with children to stay at home with them or be employed. Along the lines of a comment I made in a post a few days ago, this is a “choice” that has to be […]

Just finished: “Julie and Julia”

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, Julie Powell (paperback)original hardcover title: Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchenfrom From Publishers WeeklyPowell became an Internet celebrity with her 2004 blog chronicling her yearlong odyssey of cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. A frustrated secretary in New York City, Powell embarked on “the Julie/Julia project” to find a sense of direction, and both the […]

The Festival of Books is here!

This weekend at UCLA, it’s the LA Times Festival of Books! No Rock Bottom Remainders this year, but we still enjoyed the browsing earlier today. The weather was sunnier and warmer this year than last, and seemed to bring the crowds out early. I had wanted to participate in the giant crossword puzzles again, but as it turned out we didn’t see any. The exhibitor whose booth is don’t-miss for us is Pennyworth Books. (I […]

On the changing times

One of the blogs I keep up with his Leslie Morgan Steiner’s “On Balance” blog through the Washington Post’s website This recent post put me in mind of conversations I’ve had with friends, and my husband, about how it’s not like it was when we were kids anymore. Every generation of parents has probably had that thought, but it means different things in different times. On Balance blog post – Leslie Morgan Steiner En […]

A change is coming

If I’m going to try to get in the habit of updating this blog regularly, I need to start posting more often, and shorter, so I need to stop doing my “reading” posts in a monthly-update format. Effective with my next one, when I finish Julie and Julia, each book review will get a post of its very own. Then I won’t be playing catch-up all the time. And I’m going on the record with […]


An unexpected substitute dog-sitter has emerged from a source we’d never have predicted. The stepkids’ mom, TallGuy’s ex, has offered to keep Princess Fuzzybutt during our trip, due to Mom-in-law’s broken leg/foot…and we’re thisclose to taking her up on it, although we haven’t officially done so. SDKate is pretty excited about having her step-dog with her for the entire week – good thing, since she’ll probably be doing most of the caretaking. We honestly never […]

The best laid plans

So here it is, two weeks before we leave for Tennessee, and I really should be working more than I am today. And as if there weren’t enough things to worry about, we get to add one more – Mom-in-law took a fall and will have her leg in a cast for several weeks, so she can’t drive and probably won’t be walking so well either – and she’s our designated dogsitter. Either TallGuy and […]

April’s reading so far…

Waiting, Ha JinFrom From Publishers WeeklyJin’s quiet but absorbing second novel (after In the Pond) captures the poignant dilemma of an ordinary man who misses the best opportunities in his life simply by trying to do his duty as defined first by his traditional Chinese parents and later by the Communist Party. Reflecting the changes in Chinese communism from the ’60s to the ’80s, the novel focuses on Lin Kong, a military doctor who […]

Not really “Marching” on…

March 2007 Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Ayelet WaldmanFrom From Publishers Weekly How a five-year-old manages to make the adults in his life hew to the love he holds for them is the sweet treat in this honest, brutal, bitterly funny slice of life. When Emelia’s day-old daughter, Isabel, succumbs to SIDS, her own life stalls. She can’t work; she can’t sleep; Central Park, once her personal secret garden, now is a minefield of […]

Back to the Beginning – January/February 2007

The year started off with a pretty high level of reading activity – taking vacation days for the first week of January gave me the opportunity to get my reading going at quite a pace! January 2007Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, Melanie RehakFrom the product page: From Publishers Weekly The intrepid Nancy Drew has given girls a sense of their own power since she was born, Athena-like, from the […]

The past is fading fast – or, some notes on Fall 2006 reading

I’m not sure how much I remember about some of these now, so the notes may not be too long. November 2006To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee (for Book Club)Summary from the page: Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus–three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual […]