Sunday, July 30, 2006

"In the end we are among the lucky ones." - Anthony Bourdain, "Watching Beirut Die"

If you haven’t read this article on Salon by Tony Bourdain about his recent trip (and escape from) Beirut, do. It’s one of the best pieces on the Middle East tragedies that I have read. It's thoughtful and sensitive and beautifully written, and made me cry for what's happening in our world.


I ran in the rain this morning. I love to run in the rain. Almost as much as I love to run in the snow. The thing about the snow is that often you are the ONLY person out in it. Other souls will brave the rain, especially if it’s been hot. Today there were out with me in the rain several old men with umbrellas; an little old Italian woman with an eye patch (can I say she’s Eye-talian? Haha!); and one other young-ish girl who was so professional and good at running that she couldn’t even respond to a “Morning.” The deluge really hit while I was walking home, and I was drenched – well, I was drenched anyway, what with sweat and all – by the time I kicked off my running shoes and peeled my sopping socks off on my front porch.

By 730 this morning I had:
Run three miles
Baked a chocolate cake
Made up a pie crust
Emptied the dishwasher
Scrubbed the downstairs bathroom which perpetually reeks of pee
Straightened up the living room
Sorted the mail from the past three days
Run two loads of laundry and sorted four others

I really need to rearrange my schedule so I am getting up at 5 everyday, I am so productive. The downer is that by 1030 I am hot and grumpy and tired. Perhaps if I weren’t burning the candle at both ends – instead, last night I hung out at Gina’s till 11, noodling around with her new computer (I’ll let her tell you all about it!) and my tablet PC, then I came home and read some. I started Literacy and Longing in L.A. because I just wasn’t in the mood to continue with Icebergs right then. But Literacy pissed me off.

First of all, I see nothing wrong with wanting to, even needing to, own books. They are relatively inexpensive, they don’t hurt you or anyone else, and they look nice. The fact that this book makes much of Dora’s “illness” just annoyed me.

Secondly, the main character, Dora? Is the world’s most annoying protagonist. First of all, she is a classic depressive, and not a little obsessive-compulsive. Now, whoo-hoo, she doesn’t succumb to the alcoholism that her mother indulges in, but neither has she gotten any kind of help so far, for her myriad problems, among them her “book hermit” days. I enjoy curling up for the afternoon with a good book and escaping somewhere exotic or at least different as much as anyone, but I do NOT turn off the phone, ignore the doorbell, and not emerge for three or four days running. And wouldn’t even if I could. Don’t even get me started on her immature view of relationships and her stalker-ish tendencies where her SECOND EX-HUSBAND is concerned….so while I am enjoying the book parts – what she reads and why – I could never ever be friends with Dora because she PISSES ME OFF. You know what? Married people were single once, too; it’s not as if we sprung from the womb fully wedded, and maybe we too know exactly the ups and downs of single life and maybe the grass is NOT greener. And if you’ve BEEN married (twice!) you should most definitely know this. Dora.

I am liking the quietness and strength of Icebergs but it’s not a fast read and it’s due back tomorrow. I don’t think I can renew it, if there’s another hold on it. But I will get it out again and read more. I was just starting to get a feel for the characters.

In the pile to-be-read: The Girls - Lori Lansens; Geek Love - Katherine Dunn; Havoc, in its Third Year - Ronan Bennett; Savannah Breeze - Mary Kay Andrews; How to Eat - Nigella Lawson.

I LOVED How to be a Domestic Goddess and had great success with the dense chocolate loaf cake (spread with cream cheese, it was wonderful, just as Nigella said it would be). However…I then experimented with a recipe called (and this should have been my first clue) “Blueberry Boy-Bait.” The meringue topping and “bread-thickened custard” should have been my second and third. But I plugged along, eventually winding up with something that, whole, looked like a giant brain:

and in the bowl, looked little better. I had to pitch it. Which doesn’t mean I don’t still want to own Ms. Lawson’s books, it just means that if the title of a recipe is suspect, I should listen to my gut!


I also just received a review copy of Ayun Halliday's Mama Lama Ding Dong. Ayun will be stopping by Behind the Stove onTuesday, August 22, as part of her virtual book tour for this new (to the UK) release. Put it on your calendars, people!


Paula said...

Okay, now I need to go take a nap just reading that;).

Badger said...

Geek Love was awesome. It shattered me. I can't wait to read The Girls.

Hey! This reminds me that I am long overdue for a book post. I'd better get right on that.

P.S. The Bourdain article made me cry, too.

Surfing Free said...

Yum! Giant brain!
I have to say Nigella's food doesn't always look the best, but it always tastes good :)

yt said...

Oh, I read Geek Love years ago and I didn't think anyone else in the whole world ever read it. Will be very interested to hear what you think.

Lazy cow said...

I was so exhausted reading this post this morning I couldn't summon the energy to comment. Now, it's 10.30PM here and I'm all awake (hey, I made TWO dinners this afternoon so I wouldn't have to cook for the rest of the week).
I'm off to read the Bourdain article now, then go to bed and worry about tomorrow's meetup.

Sarah Louise said...

Well, being a Classic Depressive, I probably would be friends with Dora, and regret it. Did you throw the book across the room? I thought it was just very dark, but I did like the end. Oh, maybe you haven't finished it yet. When reading at Wendy's, I'm often sad when it's time to go back to work. While reading L.A. I was grateful that a half hour had passed (not the normal hour I take) and I'd go happily back to work.

I think it's time to pull out Eat Cake again...

and being the other person that ate the brain looking dessert, I can attest that the merengue was GREAT.

Joke said...

If I were a Blueberry Boy, I'd approve.


Gina said...

Just read the Bourdain piece, finally. I didn't cry until the end, but that marine carrying the babies did me in. It reminded me how much I admire my friend K, who's a marine and back from two stints in Iraq. He's a great guy, and I'm proud of him.

Gina said...

PS--If I didn't have a kid, I could easily spend entire weekends reading and soaking in the tub and not answering my phone. Just saying.

Joke said...

Trade the tub for a hammock and I could see doing that also.


BabelBabe said...

Entire WEEKENDS, fine. But you hold down a job and make a living.

That said, I am further along, and while she still annoys me, she's gotten better.

will keep you posted....

Cari said...

I read in my latest Running World about a mom who wakes up every morning at 4:30AM to run. I was up at 4:30 with my toddler then my infant, and the only thing I could think about was what I could do to go back to bed!

Sarah Louise said...

Readying the Tony B. article reminded me of Tom Friedman's book from Beiruit to Jerusalem. Those Beiruiti's love to party, who cares if there's a war.

And while currently I'm not in the get up at 6 and do a million and one things, I can be in that party and usually those are the days I'm LATE TO WORK. What gives?

Sarah Louise said...

I started reading another book called "the girls" 4 years ago--put it down, but it was like all these women and one was murdered--but apparently your "The Girls" is not that.