Sunday, March 01, 2009

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”*

Random, random.

I am happily reading two involved books at the same time – Michael Lee West’s She Flew the Coop and Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Marking Time.
Michael Lee West’s books always take me by surprise; they seem lighthearted and happy, what with the snarky Southern women and delectable sounding recipes sprinkled throughout, and they are often very funny, but they also often deal with serious life-or-death issues, and the culmination of events often smacks you in the face with reality.

Elizabeth Jane Howard’s books are for anyone who read the Penny Vicenzi Lytton family books, or Rosamunde Pilcher’s “big” books, and enjoyed them. The first one in the Cazalet series, The Light Years seemed to take me forever to read, but I gobbled down the second (I am just about finished) in less than a week and just ordered the third (of a quartet).

I am also reading the strange but intriguing The Partisan’s Daughter, which is so completely different from the only other Louis De Bernieres I have read (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) that I feel like I am reading a book by a different author.


The two older boys and I got in what may well be the last round this winter of ice skating. H’s cousin generously gave s some of the free passes he had won to the downtown rink. It was freaking cold and we were in what amounts to a wind tunnel, but it was not crowded at all and the ice was in good shape. My skates need to be sharpened desperately. I am a pretty good skater and may opt out of my run Wednesday when the babysitter comes for an hour on skates instead. I won’t be able to skate outdoors for much longer.


Our annual St Pat’s party is approaching, and I can’t find my file from last year that reminds me how many pounds of corned beef I need to feed 80 people. Grrrrrr. I have a sinking feeling that the document was on my hard drive that was wiped away when my computer died this summer.


We found an amazing appliance repair guy who fixed my cook top griddle and my oven, both of which are over fifty years old. Because of the way the appliances are integrated into the cabinetry, and because any major kitchen overhaul is on hold for a good long while if not indefinitely, it was my deepest desire this year, for Christmas, to have someone make my oven work.
Because cooking dinner with your only working oven in the basement bites the big one.
Especially when your baby sits at the top of the basement steps, sticking his little arms frantically through the cat door and wailing piteously until you return from the depths.

So my upstairs oven works. Yay, me! Now I can bake real chocolate chip cookies.

Next gift: calling the carpenter to build bookshelves for the stacks of dusty books piled around my bedroom floor.

Actually, my next gift is to take the money H gave me for Christmas to spend at Half Price Books and compile a rather large order from Persephone Books. A blogger who shall remain nameless (but who is insanely generous and has a really cute new-ish baby boy) sent me, as a lovely and completely unnecessary thank you for some minor things, a gift voucher for two Persephone Books. (I KNOW! Could anyone have given me a more thoughtful gift?) I spent a glorious afternoon perusing the catalog and trying to decide. In difficulty of choice, it completely blew past the cheese counter at the import store, and also picking candy at the chocolate shop. (In fact, my thought process regarding my choices might be worthy of its own blog post.) But I was even more excited once I factored in that H gave me that money specifically to spend on books, and he did say HPB because that was where I have been book-shopping, bur I don’t think he’d care if I spent it at Persephone instead.

As long as I really do get those bookcases built...

*Leo Tolstoy


Caro said...

Hooray for a working oven. My stove is down to two working burners but cooktops are ridiculously expensive. Maybe I'll just bring in a hot plate.

Anonymous said...

Picking books from Persephone is much like the feeling you had as a child when your mom would give you the Sears catalog and a marker, and tell you to circle all the toys you wanted for Christmas.

We spent hours in thoughtful musing--picking out what eventually would amount to a truck-load of toys--one by one. The building excitement. The dreaming. The fantasizing. It was all so magical.

I guess the difference between the two is that unbeknownst to us, we were never actually going to get those toys in the catalog. It was just my mom's way of keeping us busy for a few hours at a time. How did we never notice this, until years and years later? That woman was brilliant, I tell you.

At least now I know when I order from Persephone--it's really coming! Squeeeee! My box hasn't arrived yet...but when it does...!!!!!!

PS-Happy to hear the oven is ready for lots of upcoming chocolate chip cookies. I approve.

Badger said...

Dude. I don't even KNOW 80 people.

Elizabeth said...

Your kitchen sounds like mine with all the integrated appliances. My cook top is ancient but fine ( although I sometimes long for another burner instead of the grill) but the oven, ugh. Last year when we HAD to buy a new washer and dryer we also bought a new wall oven and it was just installed this weekend! (I know this is sad) Now I don't have to double cookie sheet everything to save it from the black char of doom.
So enjoy your cookies and your books.

Sarah Louise said...

ooh, that is such exciting news about your oven!!!

(the books are exciting of course too.)

oh, and to eurolush--one year our JC Penney "gift book" didn't come on time and I wrote them a letter and got one and then the regular one came, so we had two! (And I never got anything I picked out either!)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me to put Elizabeth Jane Howard on my endless to-read list. Is The Partisan's Daughter different in a good way? I enjoyed CCM right up until that god-awful ending, so I've stayed away from De Bernieres ever since.

Duyvken said...

Tolstoy knows what he's talking about.

And corned beef for 80? Bless you... and bless you again.

That's no small task.

Unknown said...

I would love a blog post about your book selection thought process. I have already tried to imagine it, actually. :)

nutmeg said...

I couldn't wait for the carpenter any longer and went out and bought some more IKEA shelves (EXPEDIT) and spent a half day putting it together - I had two legs full of bruises to prove it.