Friday, December 28, 2012

Khoo, Nadia and Nigella

Do you ever watch cooking shows? I find it funny that I am a fan of 3 of them and all 3 mostly make food I would never want to eat. Lots of fish. Other weird ingredients.

So what draws me to them? Strong women in different settings.

First up there is; Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo. It airs on the Cooking channel. I couldn't really tell you when it airs as I just watch it when I randomly come across it. I tend to veiw most television programs that way.

Khoo lives in a small flat in Paris with a tiny kitchen. For a while she had a 'restaurant' in her flat where she would cook an evening meal for one sitting of 2 to 4 people.

Did you ever notice how so many French women wear dark red lipstick and look great in it?

Among her recipes that I do think sound good are savoury cakes like this one: Cheese, Pistachio and Prune Cake aka Cake Au Fromage et Pruneaux.

She has a cookbook out:

The Little Paris Kitchen: 120 Simple But Classic French Recipes


Then there is Nadia G's Bitchin Kitchen. She is billed as a Chef-comedienne and her show airs on the Cooking Channel and on Food Network. Again, not sure when.

Her Cooking Channel promo describes her as - "Hilarious, entertaining and deliciously demented" She's known for her crazy outfits, her crazy kitchen and her crazy staff that do educational yet nonsensical sidebars.

She makes a lot of things with ingredients that don't sound good to me. Here's a recipe that sounds tasty, though: 

She has 2 cookbooks out:

Bitchin' Kitchen Cookbook: Rock Your Kitchen--And Let the Boys Clean Up the Mess

Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen: Cookin' for Trouble


Last up is Nigella Lawson. She has had several television programs including Nigella Bites and Nigella's Feasts. The current one is Nigellisima. I've never seen it. She's British and I love to hear her speak, both her accent and her manner of speaking. Her presentation is described as flirtatious and comedians mock her just as they were fond of mocking Julia Child.

Unfortunately for my sweet-tooth, many of her baked goods sound yummy. Someday I plan to try this recipe:

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Ummm...must stop drooling...

She has many cookbooks out. The latest is titled:

Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home

She has a new cookbook due out in February 12, 2013 titled:

Nigellisima: Easy, Italian-Inspired Recipes
What about you? Do you like cooking?
What is your favorite cookbook?
Do you like cooking shows and if so, which ones? Do the inspire you to cook?
How do you feel about deep red lipstick?
All you super good researchers out there - at the end of every episode Nadia G says:
"and remember - alla bro si ma" or something like that. Maybe alibratsma. I could not find the word, phrase or whatever it is, and what it means anywhere.
I challenge you - find Nadia G's sign off.

I knew one of you would get it. Thanks London Mabel. "Found it! Alla prossima - means "til the next time." (Which sounds like the French "à la prochaine")"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2 Free books today only 12/27 for kindle and, and, and

I originally posted this and it is still there - go for it!

No Such Thing As a Secret by Shelly Fredman - is free @amazon for kindle today 12/27. I just got it. I already have a hard copy of this and all the follow up books in the series. Great book. Love Brandy Alexander and her writer - Shelly! If you don't have it - go get it.

I blogged about the series here.

The series is:
No Such Thing As A (1) Secret
(2)Good Blind Date
(3)Free Lunch
(4)Free Ride
And recently released (5) No Such Thing As a Lost Cause.

I have #5 but I haven't had a chance to read it, yet. I have no doubt it is good, though, cause Shelly wrote it.


The Spirits of Christmas by Sarah Wynde free the rest of the day 12/27 on amazon for kindle.

It is a short story set in "in Tassamara between the ending of A Gift of Thought and the epilogue of A Gift of Thought"

I blogged about those books and how much I loved them and am anxiously awaiting A Gift of Time -

Sarah Wynde actually dedicates the short story to me and one other person.

I'm halfway through it. I'm loving it. It was a sacrifice for me to put it down long enough to give all my readers this opportunity.

See how much I love you?

Updated to add - Highland Jewel by Lois Greiman and The Gambler by Lois Greiman are on sale for 99 cents.

Free book 12/27 only!!!!!!

No Such Thing As a Secret by Shelly Fredman - is free @amazon for kindle today 12/27. I just got it. I already have a hard copy of this and all the follow up books in the series. Great book. Love Brandy Alexander and her writer - Shelly! If you don't have it - go get it.

I blogged about the series here.

The series is:
No Such Thing As A (1) Secret
                                   (2)Good Blind Date
                                   (3)Free Lunch
                                   (4)Free Ride
And recently released (5) No Such Thing As a Lost Cause.

I have #5 but I haven't had a chance to read it, yet. I have no doubt it is good, though, cause Shelly wrote it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays, Y'all

Diversity: my present/s to you -
Antonio Banderas

John Trudell
Sean Blakemore

Salman Khan

Johnny Depp
Takeshi Kaga
Wael Kfoury
You're welcome!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

puns and funs

I went on facebook looking for inspiration for a blogpost and guess what I found?

Don't you love a really good pun?

I also found a link to the 25 funniest auto corrects of 2012.

Here's my favorite:

Happy Winter Solstice everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Eat, XXXX*, Love

Most people reading my blog know I'm an atheist. So it probably comes as no surprise that when the book Eat, XXXX*, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert came out, I did not rush off to read it. Eventually, I got around to reading it for two reasons; one being that so many of my friends had read it and I wanted to understand the references and two being that it is a travelogue kind of book and I generally like those.

I really like the work of Frances Mayes, for example, and one of my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillips books is Breathing Room where the down-on-her-luck heroine travels to Italy.

Sunday is the one day of the week where I don't have to 'go' anywhere. I was flipping through television channels in my efforts to entertain myself while procrastinating from doing any work on my wip. I came upon the movie, Eat, XXXX*, Love. I like Julia Roberts so I decided to watch the movie.

*(You may ask why I keep xing out the middle word. It's kind of a trigger word for me. I know that there are good people to whom it means a lot and who use it with loving kindness. But it's also thrown around in some fairly inappropriate places by some fairly opportunistic assholes. I tend to just avoid using it rather than giving it negative energy.)

Anywho - there is a concept in the movie / book that I think is valuable for everyone; THE SWEETNESS OF DOING NOTHING.

That's what I've been doing since I got off of work Sunday morning at 1am. Oh I haven't done absolutely nothing. I've read some. I've watched a lot of television. I've eaten. I've drank tea and hot chocolate and Airborne. I've started a very laid back exploration of One Note (similar to Scrivener) and started making notebooks of my manuscripts in various stages.

What I haven't done is get out of my pajamas or travel anywhere in my car or even venture outside or do laundry or wash dishes.

It's very rejuvenating, doing nothing.

Monday I usually have a couple of obligations but they both got cancelled so I continued with my pursuit of doing nothing.

Now Tuesday it's back to the busy world. Work. Laundry. Dishes. Dogpaddling. Some things with my grandkids.

I think I may enjoy it more, though, just from having taken a break.

It's kind of sad to me that mothers with young children find it almost impossible to have a whole day when they can enjoy THE SWEETNESS OF DOING NOTHING. I know most of them could use the renewal.

The movie had one other thing to offer. This man. I'm usually not 'attracted' to him, though I think he is a first rate actor, but in this movie - ooh la la:

Javier Bardem
As far as her travels are concerned - I would not have gone to the same places. She went to Italy, then India, then Bali.
I might have gone to Italy but if I did, while I would enjoy the food, I would focus on going to all the places that make cameos instead. I love cameos.
For my second country I would go to Denmark. And I would make side trips to Sweden and Norway. Find out what it's like to live in a place where atheism is more the norm. No offense to all of my good, faith-centered friends. I'd just like to experience what it's like to not feel defensive about that subject all the time. Also, I could pursue Van Gogh and Klimt there.
I could certainly get into ending my journey with some time on a tropical island. I might not choose to go outside the USA for that. Hawaii seems like it has a lot to offer.
Speaking of Hawaii - I think my campaign for Alex O'Louglin as James Bond (evenually when Daniel Craig is tired of doing it) may be catching on. On Hawaii Five O tonight, the show ended with O'Louglin in a tux and one of the cast members referred to him as 007. Thrilling, huh?
If you were traveling for a year, where would you go?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Peaks and a valley

It's been a roller coaster week.

I've hit some peaks.

1 - I met a goal that I rarely ever meet. I spent 3 sessions of 50 minutes in the pool this week.

2 - I finally wrote some on my wip after a long dry spell.

3 - I have been more organized about food this week. Ate much more at home. Meals that I cooked. Healthier.

I've hit the same valley in between the peaks, though.

I'm at odds with my youngest daughter right now. She has some good reasons to be very angry at her circumstances these days. I understand that. But right now she's very angry with me and I'm not entirely sure why.

I just know that as of our last disastrous phone conversation the ball is definitely not in my court and each day that she doesn't contact me, my heart hurts a little more.

She would call me a drama queen for saying that. Well, it's the truth. So, just in case, I've selected a crown.

I really like this one:

Have you ever been at odds with someone you love? If so, how did you cope?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Romance Novel: Finding Home by Author: Lois Greiman

Old Love and New Loves

2007. That's when I read my first Chrissy McMullen book by Lois Greiman. So I've loved Lois for 5 years now.

That series is contemporary. Greiman writes a lot of historicals (shudder). Not my cuppa. However, there are a couple of exceptions to that - Anne Stuart and Lisa Kleypas. There are probably others but I can't think of them right now. I know Greiman will one day be another exception. I have one of her historicals on my shelf right now and one day I'll be desperately seeking that voice of hers and I'll pick it up.

Meanwhile she has a new contemporary out and it's got a cowboy. You may not realize this is a good thing - but it is.

Lois is one of THOSE. You know, those writers whom you pick up thinking, I'm going to read the first chapter then go to sleep and 4 hours later you're still reading. Yeah, Those.

That's what happened when I picked up Finding Home.

Casie has issues:
"The old nickname turned the prickles to barbed wire. "So what should we do, Dickey? Throw her away? Send her to slaughter? I mean, if she can't run or buck or..." She waved a hand. "She could at least be pretty, right?" Dickenson, she remembered, had dated every girl on the cheerleading squad while Casie had been fighting acne and paying piccolo in the marching band. "Otherwise she might as well be dead. She might as well be..."

Casie has history with her sexy, cowboy neighbor:
"Hey thanks for the ride home, Case. Just let me know if you need any help. I'll be home for a while."
"Yeah." She pursed her lips and lied, not thinking about warm summer nights and strawberry wine poached by lanky teenagers. Once upon a time she'd been far too young to know that opposites might attract, but they would always make each other miserable. "Yeah. I'll do that."

Casie needs to ignore her neighbor because she has a fiance. Trouble is, the fiance is more trouble than he's worth:
"The rent!" she said, guilt rushing in on her. "I completely forgot about it."
He looked chagrined. "I hate to bring it up after such a perfect day."
"No. Don't be silly. It's my place, too..."
"Cass," he said, leaning toward the passenger seat to speak to her through the open door. "Maybe you could pay for next month right away, too."

She also has a ranch that needs work and isn't making much money, 3 teenagers that are depending on her for mothering, even though she isn't their mother, lambs and sheep and cows and horses, and a realtor who wants to sell her property to a confinement farming corporation.

But never fear. She's Lois Greiman driven so we have a delightful happily-for-now ending.
And, did I mention funny?

Casie: "I can make it to the house under my own steam. I'm just a little sore."
Colt: "You think I want to carry you? My arm's barely healed. I think I broke my knuckles on your fiance's fat nose. And do you know the kind of damage a bucking horse can do to your back?"
Casie: "Why did you park so far from the house then?..."

I really loved the book, Lois. Hope this is number one of a series.


Before you start whining about your tbr piles - my new love isn't a book or an author. It's 2 bands. It's 2 songs. It's several songs by 2 bands.

The Lumineers song Ho Hey is making me so happy lately. Have you heard it on the radio?
"I belong with you. You belong with me. You're my sweetheart."

I put 4 of their songs on my i-Pod:
Ho Hey, Flowers In Your Hair, Dead Sea

and Stubborn Love:

Then there's Little Talks:

If you check out the lyrics to that song it is tailor made for my wip. In fact, it's good for lots of modern gothic romance novels.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to make a new playlist for my next dogpaddling session because it HAS to include these.

What is your latest obsession new love?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Quilt blocks 2012

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while may remember that I live close to the National Quilt Museum of the United States in Paducah, KY.

If you read that and you picture old-fashioned quilts like wedding ring quilts:

expand your thinking. They do have those but they have so much more:

Todays quilt museums are really fabric art museums.
Every year the museum in Paducah has a School Block Challenge. Counting 2012, for 6 years now my gkids have entered a block into the challenge. So far they haven't won. Each year they add another 16" by 16 " block to their collection which they can eventually use to make a quilt.
The contestants are all given a packet with 3 pieces of fabric from Moda Fabrics. They can use as much of that fabric as they want but they have to use at least some of each.
I am proud to announce that 2012'S QUILT BLOCK ENTRIES ARE DONE! They are en route to the museum as we speak. And, yes, today is the deadline. We like to cut it close!
Here's Jay's entry:
It is entitled Angry Birds Versus Egg-Stealing Pigs. Awesome, huh?
Jay is 11 years old and is continuing his pop media art theme. Some of you may remember that 2011's entry was a Smurf village and 2010's entry was Super Diaper Baby.
Here's Jay holding his quilt block:
Believe it or not, the most difficult part of his quilt was not all the little felt bits that had he had to cut out and glue on. It was figuring out the size for the 4 triangles. We had to call my brother, the construction worker, to figure out how to figure out the size. And still miscalculations were made and his square was 13" by 13" so we had to sew it on the big yellow 16" by 16" square he made otherwise he would have been disqualified.
Here is Kat's entry entitled Optical Illusion Quilt Block:
How many squares do you see? If you see more than 4 her optical illusion is successful as her quilt is really just 4 square blocks with a bunch of ribbon edging. Clever, eh?
Kat is 14 years old. This is her second year of art appreciation class. When I asked her for her inspiration, she said it came from Michael Angelo. I argued with her. Michael Angelo only did big, religious-type murals like the ones on the Sistine Chapel, right?
Wrong. He did things like his work on the Campidoglio Piazza entitled Geometrics Interlocking:
Michael Angelo's work on the piazza inspired Kat to create this painting:
which was the inspiration for her quilt block.
Here's Kat holding up her quilt block:
BTW if you have a kid or a class of kids that you would like to enter in the School Block Challenge next year, it doesn't matter where in the USA you live, you can do it all via the mail. For $3. per packet, they will mail you one, you mail in your entry, and they mail it back to you after it has been judged and hung in the School Block Challenge exhibit which hangs from early January to late March.
Of course, if you are close by or want to visit, they have an excellent banquet-type affair at the end where they recognize each and every entrant with a ribbon.
Not to keep harping on the apocalypse thing, but this was so funny I had to share. Guess what Kat would do if she thought the world was about to end?
She would travel to Paris, tour the Louvre, and sneak one of her paintings onto the wall somewhere.
Do we have a guerilla artist in the works or what?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Continuing our apocalypse theme...

This made me laugh way more than it should have. (Stole it from facebook, of course.)
If you didn't read my last blogpost about Jon Hanson's book 101 Things To do Before The Apocalypse, go back and read it. Then spend $1.99 so you can laugh a whole lot.
Friday - Quilt block pictures!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Non-fiction book: 101 Things To Do Before The Apocalypse by Author: Jon Hanson

At some point in time one of those people who need to predict the end of the world decided to put his sandwich board away and focus on finding some gimmick to make his prediction seem more real. Voila - the Mayan calendar prediction. Any one with a lick of sense knows that the Mayans are being abused in this situation. They never predicted the end of the world.

As food for thought, though, let's pretend they did, and they're right. The world will end December 21st, 2012.

If the apocalypse happens, do you want to go out with a whimper or a “big fat proverbial bang?”

That's what Jon Hanson asks in his ebook - 101 Things To Do Before the Apocalypse. Then he shares his handy list of things to do if you're on the bang side of things. You whimperers are on your own.

Some of his suggestions could be done exactly as he has written them. Others you might have to tweak to suit your own tastes.

For example - #20 Go To Work In a Gorilla Suit. It's funny but it doesn't quite do it for me. I would steal his concept and change it to better suit my purposes.

I work with several fundamentalist, zealot-type religious people. Despite all passive aggressive efforts on my part to express the fact that I think religion and politics shouldn't be discussed at work where I can't walk away from your crazy ass, they still persist in bringing scripture and hellfire predictions into every conversation.

Instead of a gorilla suit, I think I'll wear horns and a tail. I'll dress normally for work. Then I'll add horns like these:

and a tail like this:

except longer so that it drags the ground.

I'll walk into work, punch the time clock and make my way to my desk, tail dragging behind me. When people make comments or ask questions, I'll stare at them blankly like I don't know what they're talking about. The first time I need to go to the bathroom, I'll come out of the stall, look in the mirror and scream loudly. Then I'll run out of the bathroom, babbling just barely coherently about how "it wasn't a dream, I really am the devil now."

Of course, I can't do this any earlier than Dec 20th because I don't want to lose my paycheck too soon.

If the people who are disrespectfully lying about the Mayans prediction are wrong, on Dec 22nd I'll be going to the doctor to get some kind of excuse about needing my meds adjusted but I will have had my fun, so who cares.

Okay, who thinks the above tweaking of Jon's suggestion #20, proves that I am perfectly suited for his suggestion #74 Start Your Own Apocalypse Blog?

However to quote Jon, "This one may not work out the way we had planned. In the event the internet goes kaput, you'll need a megaphone. That way you can still shout your so called "blog" updates to annoyed neighbors from up on your roof. That should go over real well right?"

See, that doesn't quite work for me. Cause I live in a rural neighborhood. To truly get the word out, I need one of those car thingys that let me drive around my area talking through speakers. Yeah, that would work. And I'd be so popular.This apocalypse thing is shaping up to be fun.

It's a fun, entertaining book full of helpful suggestions but I think Jon missed one thing - just in case it really was a zombie apocalypse, I would urge people to spend some time researching helmets and maybe armor. How cool would it be, if when the zombies come around, they couldn't get to your brains or any part of your flesh?

In any case, the book could actually pay for itself. Suggestion #26 is that you bathe in your neighbors automatic sprinklers. I don't know about your neighbor, but mine spends his evenings in front of the tv swilling beer and it would take a lot more than me in my birthday suit bathing in his sprinklers to get his attention. I could probably get away with it for days. Long enough to save the $1.99 I spent on the book.

Or, if you have a blog and you agree to review the book, Jon will give you a free copy. I didn't take him up on his offer because I know his humor and I knew I'd get my moneys worth but you should feel free to do so.

How will you spend your last day before the world ends?

So far my best plan involves secreting a couple of bottles of Sangria about my person, going to the movie theatre and buying a big thing of popcorn, settling into a comfortable seat and watching repeated showings of Skyfall.

I can't think of any better way of spending my last moments, than staring longingly at Daniel Craig.