Sunday Gratitude – August 30, 2015

My boys start school this coming Wednesday.  Can you see me dancing and whooping?  No, no, it’s not what you think.  It’s not just that they are going to be out of the house five days per week.  It’s because we will start to have a reasonable schedule!  Me, especially!  I’ve been out of control with these late nights and late wake-ups.  I feel I could be doing so much more but when you start so late…

I shall not lament on my shortcomings as this is a positive post.  I shall focus on the good stuff!  Such as this delicious Strawberry Shortcake, Julia Child’s French version!  Only one itty-bitty piece left!  Mind you, we were 15 noshing on it!

Gratitude List

  1. Love it when the whole family gets together.  Thanks, Tracy, for getting Mom to come down and having us all over for a serious over-eating escapade!

  2. So happy my dentist was able to squeeze us in despite my boys’ tardiness.

  3. How sweet is Frank to name me his “Maître D” for his latest “Dance” musical!  He says it’s because I participate a lot; I say it’s the equivalent of having a big mouth and overly giving my two cents’ worth!

  4. Super happy I’ve got two brand-new meals clients who picked up their very first batches this week-end.  Fingers crossed they like them!

  5. A lot of laughs and serious conversations and things happen when getting together with Patti.  We’ll remember this one for a while, eh?

The Year In Books – August 2014


Back from vacation and trying to get back into a groove (but not yet trying that hard)!  As predicted, I took the time to read whilst on the Jersey Shore.  Now… did I read what I said I’d read? Not exactly!  Yes, I did officially finish As Always, Julia (there were a mere 20 pages left) and it just made me want to start cooking à la Julia but I was camping so I had to improvise!  (Not too many have duck breasts and cedar-plank salmon when camping…)  And, I knew there would be quite a few shows taped of The French Chef  waiting for me when I got home. (Isn’t the Universe grand?  Here I am all in love with Julia Child and Gusto TV decides to air old ’60’s episodes!  So fun to watch these old black and white shows with Julia often out of breath….

O.K… got off track there for a second!  My first official book for July was Jodi Picoult’s Change of Heart. As per usual, Ms. Picoult draws you into a difficult situation, shows you both sides (or more) to the story and makes you think.  As she has done for several of her books, each chapter is one person’s voice (and written in a different font).  This story is about a death-row inmate (first in 69 years) who wishes to donate his heart to his victim’s sister.  It’s told in the voices of June, mother of the victim; Michael, a Catholic priest; Lucius, a fellow inmate and Maggie, his lawyer; all woven together to tell this difficult story.

Death penalty, human rights, religion, organ donation:  these are some serious subjects that can cause heated discussions.  Picoult never preaches when each one is brought forth.  I am amased at the amount of research she puts into each and every book she writes, this one included.  I won’t say more as I would hate to divulge anything inadvertently! Definitely worth the read.

After about an hour to mourn the end of my book, my sister handed me the one she had just finished.  I had not thought to bring a second book so I figured pourquoi pas?  This particular one falls in the category we like to call:  historical smut book!  Which was exactly what I needed after the emotional roller coaster ride I had just been on!  This was a no-brain-required-yet-enjoyable-romp-kind of book called A Rogue By Any Other Name20140731_154209 by Sarah MacLean.  You know how these go: boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy ravishes girl and all ends well… Sometimes that just hits to spot!

It’s just as well I hadn’t brought my second book to the beach:  Every Day in Tuscany – turns out it comes AFTER this month’s selection!  Funny how that works, eh?


The Year in Books: June


Phew!  Did it!  I read Room by Emma Donogue in a mere four days (which is really good as I seem to have a shortage of hours lately!)

What a wonderful read.  It was fun to read something in the voice of the five-year-old boy named Jack.  By doing so, Ms. Donogue managed to take a difficult subject and bring in humour and matter-of-facted-ness (am I allowed to invent words for a book club?).  Jack and his Ma have been locked up in “Room” (11″ X 11″) all of his life with only a skylight giving them any view of the outside world – when not covered in snow.   Every item is capitalised as they are official things to him:  Wardrobe, Sink, Bed, etc.  He is not an unhappy kid as this is all he’s ever known.  His mother has managed to create a certain normal-ness in an abnormal situation.  She does such a good job that he doesn’t know that it is unique.  She also teaches him to read at a very young age and, though he may make grammatical errors, his vocabulary is extraordinary.

Of course, now that Jack gets bigger, Room seems smaller and it is a question of time before Ma starts making him understand they cannot stay forever.  Ma tries to explain to him that the world on TV is actually the real world, and not, as she originally told him, pretend.  It is beyond his comprehension.  All I can say is, though the subject is claustrophobic, the telling of it is enjoyable!

So, inspired by Laura, of Circle of Pine Trees’ April choice, Letters of Note, I thought of a book I’ve had in my library for a while but hadn’t yet gotten around to.  Hmm… Seems all my choices are based on already-existing-in-my-library books that I haven’t gotten around to!  Thank you, Laura!  By creating this special book club, you’ve forced me to take stock of what I have!  I am, I fear, a book-a-holic and cannot resist the book aisle in ANY store!  I truly have to stop buying more and continue attacking the ones I already have!  Would that ever make hubby happy!  No guarantees, though.

Just yesterday on Facebook I came across the following picture!  I shared it, adding my comment: “Omigosh! What is my library doing on Facebook!” 😀

Literary cartoon by Tom Gauld

Literary cartoon by Tom Gauld

So, a few months ago I was browsing the aisles of HomeSense and, of course, could not stay away from the itty-bitty book section.  In my neighbourhood, getting anything in English is quasi-impossible but at HomeSense they have cookbooks, notebooks (another fetish of mine) and other specialty books in English.  Tucked in between cookbooks by Jamie Oliver and Rachael Ray was As Always, Julia – The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto!  A book on Food, Friendship and the Making of a Masterpiece, edited by Joan Reardon.  Well, I had loved watching Julie and Julia (and will watch pretty much ANY movie that has anything to do with foodwriter once upon a time…Would still be if I had someone willing to write back and mail it!

When I saw this book, well, I just had to.  Plus it cost me a whole $5.99 CDN! Quel bargain!  It would have been foolish of me to walk away…  Though the friends corresponded for over thirty years, this collection traces the story of the creation of Volume 1 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking – a book I am proud to have in my cookbook collection – from March 9, 1952 to May 2, 1961.  They will discuss everything from the best knives to use to recipes, to politics, to sexuality.

I confess I have already started reading it and oh my!  These were not simple “hello, how are you doing, I am fine” letters!  I am looking forward to learning even more about the venerable Ms. Julia Child!