Amber's (scaifea) Thread #20

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Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2021

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Amber's (scaifea) Thread #20

1scaifea
Jul 20, 9:28am



Hey, everybody!

I'm Amber, a one-time Classics professor, turned stay-at-home parent/lady of leisure, turned part-time library assistant, turned once again Classics professor. I spend my free time sewing, writing, knitting, baking, and, of course, reading.

My reading life is happily governed by lists, which means that I read a healthy variety of things across various genres.

I'm 45 going on 12 and live in Ohio with my husband, Tomm; our son, Charlie; Mario, the Golden Retriever; and the newest addition to the family: Agent Fitzsimmons, the Border Collie.

Here I am in all my New Haircut glory, I suppose:



Favorite Books from 2020
The Lumberjanes collected comic volumes
Call Down the Hawk
New Kid
The Wise Man's Fear
The Slow Regard of Silent Things
Pride and Prejudice
Silver in the Wood
A Tale of Two Cities

2scaifea
Editado: Ago 2, 11:38am



What I'm Reading Now:
-Better Late Than Never (cozy mysteries)
-All Thirteen (Newbery Honor Book)
-The Viscount Who Loved Me (romance list)
-Black Sun (audiobook)
-Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (family bedtime read-aloud)
-Never Let Me Go (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob)
-A Darker Shade of Magic (Read Soon! Shelves)
-Vis and Ramin (Read Soon! Shelves)
-Infallible? An Inquiry (1001 Banned Books)

Books on Deck:
-The Experience of Insight (Buddhist reading list)
-(cozy mysteries)
-Henry VI Part 1 (Shakespeare re-read)
-Rabbit Run (Banned Books)
-Lud-in-the-Mist (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list)
-Wheels within Wheels (Prometheus Award)
-More Fool Me (Fry bibliography)
-Les Miserables (books by year - 1862)
-(an unread book from my shelves)
-(a book from my Read Soon! shelves)

3scaifea
Jul 20, 9:28am

The five-ish or so books I have going at once and the On Deck books nearly all come from the following categories and lists:

1. A book from the 100 Banned Books book (at least currently. As soon as I finish this list, I'll replace it with another, and oh, I've got tons of lists).

2. A children's book, for Charlie's library. I'm trying to collect books from various award lists, and I like reading them before reading them to Charlie or deciding to add them to Charlie's shelves. For this category, I’m currently working through three lists:
a. 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Die
b. The Newbery Honor books
c. Cooperative Children's Book Center list

3. A book from the Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy List, in chronological order.

4. A list I'm working through together with my best friend, Rob: The Hugo/Nebula/WFA/Bram Stoker (and other) lists (combined, in chronological order)

5. For this category, I cycle through 9 different stacks:
a. Agatha Christie's bibliography (in chronological order)
b. Stephen Fry's bibliography (in chronological order)
c. John Boyne bibliography (in chronological order, sort of)
d. Neil Gaiman's bibliography (in some order other than chronological (don't
ask)).
e. Christopher Moore's bibliography (in chronological order)
f. Maggie Stiefvater's bibliography (in chronological order)
g. The NEH Timeless Classics list
h. The National Book Award list (in alpha order by title)
i. The Pulitzer list (in alpha order by author)

6. An unread book from my shelves.

7. A book from my Read Soon! shelves.

8. A book on Buddhism or from the Dalai Lama's bibliography.

9. Book-a-year challenge: Three years ago, along with a few others in this group (*cough* Paul *cough*), I made a year-by-year list to see how far I could go back with consecutive reads. I've since been trying to fill in the gap years.

10. A cozy mystery.

11. A full-on re-read through Shakespeare's stuff.

12. A read-aloud-to-Charlie-at-bedtime book (or two).

13. An audio book, which I listen to as I knit/sew/otherwise craft/drive.

14. A romance novel.

15. This slot is reserved for books that just grab me and shout that they need to be read Right Now.

4scaifea
Editado: Ago 1, 4:36pm

Books Read

JANUARY
1. Spinning Silver (Alex Award) - 10/10 = A+
2. Swamp Thing: Twin Branches (Stiefvater bibliography) - 8/10 = B
3. Manchild in the Promised Land (Banned Books list, AlphaKIT: M) - 9/10 = A-
4. The Wish Giver (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
5. Silas Marner (audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
6. The Story of Tracy Beaker (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
7. Thick as Thieves (series reread) - 10/10 = A+
8. Lumberjanes #16: Mind over Mettle (series read) - 10/10 = A+
9. Pilgrimage (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books) - 7/10 = C
10. Each Tiny Spark (Schneider Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
11. The House on the Borderland (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 6/10 = D
12. Beyond Religion (books on Buddhism) - 9/10 = A
13. Outlander (romance list) - 6/10 = D
14. Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
15. Far Away Across the Sea (1001 Children's Books) - 10/10 = A+
16. The Daylight Gate (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B-
17. The Queen of Attolia (family bedtime read-aloud) - 10/10 = A+
18. Works and Days & Theogony (Myth course readings) - 9/10 = A-
19. The Book Thief (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 10/10 = A+
20. Return of the Thief (series read) - 10/10 = A+

FEBRUARY
21. The Bacchants (myth course reading) - 9/10 = A
22. Camp (romance) - 8/10 = B+
23. Song of a Whale (Schneider Award) - 8/10 = B-
24. Gardens of the Moon (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 4/10 = F
25. Oedipus Rex (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
26. Antigone (Myth course readings) = 10/10 = A+
27. Agamemnon (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
27. Upon the Head of a Goat (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
27. Volcano (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C
30. A Promised Land (audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
31. The Stone Book Quartet (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C+
32. The Libation Bearers (Myth course readings) - 9/10 = A
33. Eumenides (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
34. Electra (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
35. The King of Elfland's Daughter (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books) - 7/10 = C
36. The Goalkeeper's Revenge (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
37. Conrad: The Factory-Made Boy (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
38. Medea (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
39. The Frogs (Myth course readings) - 9/10 = A
40. Metamorphoses (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
41. Iliad (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
42. Odyssey (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
43. Aeneid (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
44. The Histories (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
45. Till We Have Faces (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books) - 8/10 = B-

MARCH
46. My Sweet Orange Tree (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 = A
47. Lord Foul's Bane (BSFA) - 2/10 = F
48. Manolito Four Eyes (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
49. The Early History of Rome, Book 1 (Myth course readings) - 9/10 = A
50. Farmer Boy (family bedtime read-aloud) - 9/10 = A-
51. The Henna Wars (romance list) - 8/10 = B+
52. Cursed (Schneider Award) - 9/10 = A
53. Heroides (Myth course readings) - 9/10 = A
54. The Apocolocyntosis (Myth course readings) - 9/10 = A
55. Sandman: The Kindly Ones (Myth course readings) - 10/10 = A+
56. Tales of the Rue Broca (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
57. Far Away Across the Sea (family bedtime read-aloud) - 10/10 = A+
58. After the Rain (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
59. Ready Player Two (from my Read Soon! shelves) - 9/10 = A
60. The Moonstone (audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
61. Memoirs of a Geisha (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 8/10 = B

APRIL
62. The Club Dumas (unread book from my shelves) - 9/10 = A
63. Good Night, Mr. Tom (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 = A
64. The Liverpool Cats (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
65. The Ugly American (100 Banned Books) - 9/10 = A
66. The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
67. The Haunting (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B
68. The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost (family bedtime read-aloud) - 9/10 = A
69. Sense and Sensibility (unread book from my shelves) - 8/10 = B+
70. Middlemarch (audiobook) - 2/10 = F
71. Ordinary Hazards (audiobook) - 8/10 = B-
72. Chaotic Good (Read Soon! Shelves) - 9/10 = A

MAY
73. The Beast Player (Printz Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
74. Another Country (100 Banned Books) - 8/10 = B-
75. Lumberjanes Vol. 17: Smitten in the Stars (series read) - 10/10 = A+
76. The Worm Ouroboros (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books list) - 4/10 = F
77. Where the World Ends (audiobook) - 9/10 = A
78. In the Beginning: Creation Stories from around the World (Newbery Honor Book) - 7/10 = C+
79. Max and Sally and the Phenomenal Phone (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
80. BUtterfield 8 (unread books from my shelves) - 9/10 = A
81. Nine Princes in Amber (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy list) - 4/10 = F
82. Stories: All-New Tales (books from my Read Soon! shelves) - 8/10 = B-
83. Visitors from London (recommendation from Julia) - 9/10 = A
84. Storm (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
85. Dig (Printz Award, audiobook) - 9/10 = A
86. The Crossover (reread with Charlie) - 9/10 = A
87. The Rose and the Ring (1001 Children's Books) - 6/10 = D
88. Guard of Honor (Pulitzer list) - 8/10 = B-
89. The Girl on the Train (Read Soon! shelves) - 9/10 = A-
90. Sunday's Child (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
91. Mrs. Dalloway (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 7/10 = C
92. Captive Prince (romance) - 8/10 = B+
93. High School (audiobook, Alex Award) - 9/10 = A
94. Scorpions (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
95. Children of the Alley (Banned Books) - 8/10 = B-
96. On the Banks of Plum Creek (family bedtime read-aloud) - 9/10 = A-
97. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (Printz Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
98. The Swallows (Alex Award) - 9/10 = A

JUNE
99. Steeple (impulse read) - 9/10 = A
100. Journey to Jo'burg (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
101. Dao de Jing (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 9/10 = A
102. My Friend the Painter (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C
103. Drowned Country (from my Read Soon! shelves) - 9/10 = A
104. The Ruins of Gorlan (audiobook) - 9/10 = A
105. Captain Fracasse (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B-
106. The Dark-Thirty (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B-
107. Cards on the Table (Christie bibliography/audiobook) - 9/10 = A-
108. A Likely Story (cozy mystery series read) - 8/10 = B+
109. Gates of Fire (unread book from my shelves) - 7/10 = C-
110. What Katy Did (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10 = C-
111. Red, White, and Royal Blue (romance) - 9/10 = A
112. Gargling with Jelly (1001 Children's Books) - 4/10 = F
113. Mister Impossible (Stiefvater bibliography) - 10/10 = A+
114. Somewhere in the Darkness (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
115. Crazy Lady! (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
116. Three Men in a Boat (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 7/10 = C-
117. Do You Dream of Terra-Two? (audiobook) - 8/10 = B+
118. A Girl Named Disaster (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A

JULY
119. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (100 Banned Books) - 4/10 = F
120. Dominicana (Alex Award) - 9/10 = A
121. Getting Near to Baby (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B+
122. The Duke and I (romance) - 9/10 = A-
123. Uncle Silas (books by year - 1864) - 9/10 = A
124. Black Girl Unlimited (audiobook) - 7/10 = C
125. The House of the Scorpion (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A
126. The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas (family bedtime read-aloud) - 9/10 = A
127. Heart of a Samurai (Newbery Honor Book) - 8/10 = B
128. When You Trap a Tiger (Newbery Medal Book) - 8/10 = B
129. The Cat, or How I Lost Eternity (1001 Children's Books) - 6/10 = D
130. Driftless (challenge read) - 9/10 = A
131. The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 = A
132. Halinka (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 - A-
133. Tashi (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
134. The House in the Cerulean Sea (audiobook) - 9/10 = A
135. The Sound and the Fury (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 7/10 = C-
136. Sick in the Head (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B-

AUGUST
137. Three Times Lucky (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A-

5scaifea
Jul 20, 9:29am

The Kiddo at Work:



The Mario and her Magical Rainbow Snoot:



And Agent Fitzsimmons:

6scaifea
Jul 20, 9:30am

Next one is yours!

7katiekrug
Jul 20, 9:36am

Happy new one, Amber! That photo of Simmons and her ears is too adorable.

8scaifea
Jul 20, 9:42am

>7 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! And right? You should see her do her head tilt...

9drneutron
Jul 20, 9:44am

Happy new one!

10scaifea
Jul 20, 10:05am

>9 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

11FAMeulstee
Jul 20, 10:09am

Happy new thread, Amber!

Simmons is adorable with the one ear up.
I am glad it is working out with her and Mario.

12scaifea
Jul 20, 10:19am

>11 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! Yes, I'm relieved that Mario seems to be getting comfortable and even happy with Simmons. Whew!

13laytonwoman3rd
Jul 20, 10:58am

>5 scaifea: I see that Agent Fitzsimmons is "tuned in" and won't miss a thing! Thrilled that the girls are getting along well.

14MickyFine
Editado: Jul 20, 11:56am

Adding in my "awww" for Simmons and her ears. And also ear scritches for Mario because I know how tough it is to be the oldest sibling. ;)

And now questions/reactions from your previous thread:

Please explain frozen custard. We don't have this substance in (my area) of Canada. Is it more like ice cream or frozen yogurt? Or is it some strange entity like Dole Whip (which I have had while visiting the US). I'm really confused by this as a substance.

And then just a general yay for loving A Darker Shade of Magic.

15BekkaJo
Jul 20, 12:06pm

Just a wave for the new thread. I may have missed a whole thread. Or two...

16PaulCranswick
Jul 20, 12:12pm

Happy big two oh, Amber.

17lauralkeet
Jul 20, 12:43pm

Simmons is so cute. I always look forward to your thread-topping pet pics, but even more so now that they include a puppy.

18karenmarie
Jul 20, 12:51pm

Happy new thread, Amber!

19scaifea
Jul 20, 12:52pm

>13 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Linda. I'm so relieved that they seem to be making friends with each other. And nope, Simmons does not miss a thing. She's too smart for my own good, to be honest.

20scaifea
Jul 20, 12:58pm

>14 MickyFine: Mario appreciates the scritches. She's technically Charlie's dog, but she and I are close buddies and I'm making sure she gets extra love and attention these days. I tend to whisper "you're still my favorite pup" in her ear several times a day...

Oh, Micky. OH MICKY. Frozen custard is like the most delicious ice cream times a thousand. Suuuper creamy. Sooo good. I've not had Dole Whip (that's a Disney thing, yeah?), so I can't compare the two. Ice cream tends to be made from milk and cream; frozen custard is milk, cream, and egg yolks. Also, ice cream maker machines incorporate much more air into the mix while custard machines mix in very little air, so the result is denser and creamier all around. Frozen yogurt comes in a distant third in the ratings, for me, at least.

21scaifea
Jul 20, 12:58pm

>15 BekkaJo: Hi, Bekka!

>16 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul.

22scaifea
Jul 20, 1:00pm

>17 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura! She's a doll, and sometimes that's the only thing saving her because she's also a complete menace. I've been feeling about about not mixing up my toppers more lately, but Charlie is very camera shy these days (and I want to respect that) and that Rainbow Mario is my favorite, so I just haven't changed things lately. I should be able to provide fairly cute Simmons content, though...

23scaifea
Jul 20, 1:00pm

>18 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen!

24katiekrug
Jul 20, 1:14pm

Fully agree about frozen custard. So. Good. And frozen yogurt is just dumb.

25scaifea
Jul 20, 1:30pm

>24 katiekrug: *SNORK!* I mean, I'll eat Froyo if that's all that's available, but yeah.

26foggidawn
Jul 20, 2:16pm

Happy new thread!

27scaifea
Jul 20, 2:50pm

>26 foggidawn: Thanks, foggi!

28quondame
Jul 20, 3:35pm

Happy new thread!

29msf59
Jul 20, 3:59pm

Happy New Thread, Amber! I am glad Agent Fitzsimmons vet visit went so well.

30scaifea
Jul 20, 4:07pm

>28 quondame: Thanks.

>29 msf59: Thanks, Mark - I'm glad, too! And Mario was a very good girl today at *her* vet visit.

31MickyFine
Jul 20, 4:11pm

>20 scaifea: Interesting. Well at that mystical point in the future when I might travel to the US again I'll keep my eyes peeled for frozen custard.

Dole Whip is definitely at Disney but there is also a Dole Whip storefront on the main drag in Lahaina on Maui (where you can get giant confections of it served inside an actual pineapple - I've never tried it that way but you're guaranteed to see at least one person wandering the street with one when you're nearby) and I found it in a few other restaurants while on Maui. Basically it's just pineapple soft serve but it's delicious nonetheless. Although I must admit when in Maui our usual cold treat of choice is gelato.

32swynn
Jul 20, 8:32pm

Happy New thread Amber!

33laytonwoman3rd
Jul 20, 9:01pm

Aww....frozen custard...haven't had the real thing in so long. It's sort of disappeared around here since my yout'. Soft serve ice cream is everywhere though.

34LovingLit
Jul 20, 9:14pm

*looks left*
*looks right*
Woah! I missed a whole thread there I think!

35quondame
Jul 20, 9:34pm

>34 LovingLit: Blink and it's bound to happen.

36jjmcgaffey
Jul 21, 1:04am

The other day I accidentally got sorbet instead of ice cream - they had "dark chocolate ice cream" and "darkest chocolate sorbet". I was so interested in the name I accidentally said darkest chocolate. I don't know how they made it - sorbet is supposed to be frozen fruit and simple syrup - but it was _fantastic_. Extremely rich flavor and lovely texture - as good or better than the ice cream I had with it. It didn't have any milk or cream or eggs - it was vegan, I believe (well, V might be vegetarian but in that case normal ice cream would have it too). I'll be keeping an eye out for other sorbet like that... It was a small shop in a town half an hour away from home; I'll get it there again but it's (the town) not someplace we go regularly.

37scaifea
Jul 21, 7:57am

>31 MickyFine: Pineapple soft serve sounds pretty good. There used to be a joint on my route from college to home that had orange pineapple ice cream and it's still one of my favorite things on the planet. So delicious.

38scaifea
Jul 21, 7:58am

>32 swynn: Thanks, Steve!

>33 laytonwoman3rd: I would never say no to soft serve, Linda. And I didn't have frozen custard until I was in grad school, I think. There wasn't any place near where I grew up that had it.

39scaifea
Jul 21, 7:59am

40scaifea
Jul 21, 7:59am

>36 jjmcgaffey: Oh, whoa. I'm glad you loved it, but I'm not sure I could get myself to try it. Chocolate...sorbet? I can't get my brain around that idea...

41scaifea
Jul 21, 8:08am

Today's Agenda:
It's Wednesday, which means Abel Baker Charlie will be in the kitchen this morning again. This week he's making chocolate cake. I'm here for it. Otherwise, I may get into the sewing room for tidying, finally (I *still* haven't started with that), and I may do some writing.

On the reading front:
I didn't get much reading in yesterday, but I did manage a couple of pages of The Viscount Who Loved Me and The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's. Still listening to The House in the Cerulean Sea, too.

What We're Watching:
We finished up Prisoner of Azkaban and started Goblet of Fire last night.

42Crazymamie
Jul 21, 9:48am

I am not caught up with you, Amber, but I had to come meet the new puppy. ADORABLE. And I wish you could have heard Birdy exclaiming over the name!

>24 katiekrug: "And frozen yogurt is just dumb." This made me snort my coffee.

43laytonwoman3rd
Jul 21, 9:59am

"orange pineapple ice cream" YES! My uncle used to have that in his dipping tubs sometimes. It was my favorite. My dad always got maple walnut, which is another flavor that's gone missing in my life. Mom was a strawberry girl.

44scaifea
Jul 21, 10:08am

>42 Crazymamie: I LOVE that Birdy likes the name! I've yet to come across anyone here who gets the reference. Her tags say "Agent Fitzsimmons" on the front, and on the back, "My first name is Agent, but I go by Simmons" because I wanted the Iron Man reference in there, too.

45scaifea
Jul 21, 10:09am

>43 laytonwoman3rd: Black Walnut and Butter Pecan have always been my favorite scoop flavors. I don't think I've ever had Maple Walnut...

46Crazymamie
Jul 21, 11:33am

>44 scaifea: Okay, we LOVE that! Too funny.

47scaifea
Jul 21, 6:24pm

48scaifea
Jul 21, 6:25pm

Able Baker Charlie's Chocolate Cake:



And how I spent my afternoon:



49laytonwoman3rd
Jul 21, 8:05pm

>48 scaifea: You know, you're a lucky woman.

50lauralkeet
Jul 21, 9:21pm

mmm that cake looks great. Is that a mint icing?

51FAMeulstee
Jul 22, 4:42am

>48 scaifea: What a lovely view, Amber. The book is tempting, but so are the gals!

52scaifea
Jul 22, 7:25am

>49 laytonwoman3rd: You're not wrong, Linda.

53scaifea
Jul 22, 7:26am

>50 lauralkeet: The cake is amazing, Laura! But no, it's regular cream cheese frosting; Charlie just added some food coloring because the vanilla in it made it too off-white for his sensibilities, apparently.

54scaifea
Jul 22, 7:29am

>51 FAMeulstee: I kind of love our back yard, even though it's nothing special and we don't have spectacular views or anything. That building behind us is Charlie's elementary school, and it was so great for those two grade school years since we moved here that he could just walk out the back gate and be at school! Starting this year he'll ride a quick shuttle bus over to the middle school, which is on the other side of town (although the other side of town is only a mile away - we don't have a lot of town here).

It was such a lovely afternoon, hanging out with my gals and reading.

55scaifea
Jul 22, 7:32am

Today's Agenda:
Menu planning and prepping my grocery list for tomorrow, some writing, possibly some sewing now that I have the sewing space sorted (I finally actually got round to it yesterday). I may sit outside with the gals again this afternoon, since I think the weather is supposed to be the same as yesterday, which was so gorgeous: sunny, breezy, 75 degrees. Beautiful.

On the reading front:
I finished Driftless (review to come), read a bit of The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's, and listened to some of The House in the Cerulean Sea.

56lauralkeet
Jul 22, 7:41am

Amber, do the schools in your town serve only students from the town or a broader geographic area? And I should know this, but is Charlie going into 6th or 7th grade this year?

57scaifea
Jul 22, 7:48am

>56 lauralkeet: Honestly, I'm still a little in the dark about how broad the school reach is here. It's certainly more than just the immediate town limits, because one of Charlie's school friends lives outside the city bounds, but just how far, I don't know. There's at least one other school district in the county, and that school is, weirdly, just maybe 5 miles outside of town? It's confusing.
Charlie will be in 7th grade this year. This is his first year in the middle school building, since last year he did the online school.

58lauralkeet
Jul 22, 7:57am

Thanks Amber. It does sound confusing! I was thinking how fortunate Charlie is that he doesn't have a long bus ride, which made me wonder about the size of the district. And I think it was his year online that threw me off as far as what grade he's in.

59scaifea
Jul 22, 9:11am

>58 lauralkeet: This will be his first year ever riding a bus, and I'm really glad it's not a long ride. We'll see how it goes. Honestly, in nice weather he could walk. And yeah, I can't believe he'll be in 7th grade. Nuts.

60scaifea
Jul 22, 9:32am



130. Driftless by David Rhodes (challenge read) - 9/10 = A
Words is a tiny town in the middle of the Driftless area of southwest Wisconsin, a place where the glaciers didn't move through and flatten the land. The inhabitants of Words represent varying degrees of drift themselves; some seem to be wandering through life without an anchor, while others are very firmly tied to the land and the local way of life. I loved this novel, both for the beautifully drawn characters and how their stories all come together in different ways, and for the lovely rendition of this area of Wisconsin. Having grown up on a farm and also having lived in the Driftless for nearly a decade, I can attest that Rhodes' depiction of farm life, life in SW Wisconsin, and the people who inhabit the two is 100% accurate and lovingly told. I have only a couple of very minor quibbles: there's one character whom I can't stand and so the sections of the book focused on her were not to my taste, and there were bits here and there that seems to drag and could have used some editing. Otherwise, though, a fantastic novel.

61karenmarie
Jul 22, 9:38am

Hi Amber!

Cakes and reading and watching the fur kids play. Not bad.

>53 scaifea: I took two cake decorating classes, circa 1995-1997, and the instructor was insistent that we use artificial vanilla so the frosting would be pure white. I even bought a bottle of Wilton’s fake vanilla and used it once or twice but quickly reverted to real vanilla because of the taste. Off-white frosting is okay around here, but tinting it green is not a bad idea at all.

>59 scaifea: Is Charlie excited about going back to school?

62scaifea
Jul 22, 9:42am

>61 karenmarie: Yep, nothing but pure vanilla here, too, even though it's stupid expensive. I always feel a twinge of guilt when I put it in the cart, but I will not skimp on taste as long as we can afford it.

Charlie is very excited to go back to school. He loved the online school and would have been happy continuing with it, but is also excited at the prospect of band and possibly drama club, and he's also thinking about seeing if they have a cross country team. We'll see how that last part goes - he's had no experience with cross country, but wants a physical activity that isn't so much a team sport (he loathes ball games of all kinds).

63lauralkeet
Jul 22, 12:58pm

>60 scaifea: I'm glad to see you loved Driftless, Amber. I thought it was fabulous. I didn't realized you'd lived in that area of Wisconsin, so that must have added a lot to the reading experience. If you wouldn't mind hiding it behind spoiler tags, I'm curious which character you couldn't stand.

64scaifea
Jul 22, 1:00pm

>63 lauralkeet: Winifred, the pastor

65foggidawn
Jul 22, 1:59pm

I could use a slice of that cake right now! Looks tasty, and cream cheese icing is my favorite, no matter the color. I learned recently that you can make a really tasty strawberry cream cheese icing by putting freeze-dried strawberries in the food processor and turning them into powder, then add that to your usual cream cheese icing recipe and it adds both color and flavor.

It sounds like Charlie has good plans for middle school. I hope all goes well for him!

66karenmarie
Jul 22, 2:09pm

>62 scaifea: I used to buy vanilla extract at Costco when I still had a membership, but stopped using Costco during the pandemic and realized that we can get stuff other places without paying $55/year even though yes, we probably saved that much or more. It's 30 miles away, however, so not convenient.

I buy 16 ounces at a time, usually about $35.

As a former band parent, I can't speak highly enough of starting kids in middle school. Jenna started in 5th grade and was in band until she graduated high school. I also hope drama club and cross country or another individual sport work out for Charlie.

67lauralkeet
Jul 22, 2:52pm

>64 scaifea: Oh! That surprised me. We will have to agree to disagree on that one, but that's one of the joys of book chat.

Also echoing the encouragement for band, drama, etc. which I'm sure is preaching to the choir (pun intended). Kate and Julia both "found their people" in music, theater, and (natch) musical theater. Middle school can be really challenging socially for some, and it's such a relief when the kiddo finds their place.

68scaifea
Jul 22, 3:58pm

>65 foggidawn: Interesting about the strawberries - let me know how it works if you try it.

69scaifea
Jul 22, 3:59pm

>66 karenmarie: I started band in junior high, too, and my best times there and in high school were band related.

70scaifea
Jul 22, 4:01pm

>67 lauralkeet: I am generally pretty sensitive to self-righteous religious nonsense, both in real life and in fictional characters, and she just made me want to grind my teeth.

Yep, I'm a firm believer that you need to find your tribe as soon as possibly in middle school, and I really feel that band and drama club are where Charlie will find his, so I'm really happy that that's where he wants to look.

71foggidawn
Jul 22, 4:56pm

>68 scaifea: Oh, it works -- I've already done it. You have to use the freeze-dried strawberries, which I initially had trouble finding, but the Internet is a thing that exists, so I was able to source them eventually.

72scaifea
Jul 22, 5:07pm

>71 foggidawn: Ah, okay then! I'm not a huge strawberry fan, but I'm glad it worked out for you!

73quondame
Editado: Jul 22, 7:50pm

>64 scaifea: >67 lauralkeet: Yes, I was expecting one of the sisters. They both rubbed me a bit wrong

>71 foggidawn: I'm not a strawberry flavor seeker, but my daughter is - I should let her know about this.

74lauralkeet
Jul 23, 7:09am

>73 quondame: Same here, Susan!

75scaifea
Jul 23, 7:44am

>73 quondame: >74 lauralkeet: I loved the sisters, in fact. I thought Rhodes did a great job with the dynamic between the two, and Olivia was fantastic. She and Wade were one of my favorite parts! (Although I did skip the dog fight scene.)

76scaifea
Jul 23, 7:51am

Today's Agenda:
Grocery shopping, then I need to start prepping my course website, I think. I have all the content ready - I just need to transfer it onto the page. Frozen Friday for dinner tonight.

I am happy to report that Mario and Simmons spend the better part of an hour yesterday evening romping and playing outside together very happily. Woot!

On the reading front:
I decided to abandon The Story of English. Sooo dull, which is a shame because the subject is so great. It was too simplified and so very dry. Gah. But silver lining: there's now a bit more room on my shelves.

I also read bits of The Sound and the Fury and The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's, and I'm still listening to The House in the Cerulean Sea.

What We're Watching:
The making of Loki documentary.

77rosalita
Jul 23, 9:16am

>76 scaifea: I tried to read and abandoned The Story of English many years ago, so you have all my sympathy, Amber. Like you said, the subject is something that should have been fascinating and somehow the book was very boring.

78lauralkeet
Jul 23, 9:30am

>76 scaifea:, >77 rosalita: The Story of English rang a bell, and after Googling it I learned there was also a television show, co-produced by the BBC and McNeil-Lehrer Productions (for PBS). This was back in 1986, and it seems to have garnered some critical acclaim. I know I haven't read the book but I think I might have watched some of the series, as often happens when cruising around various streaming services.

Anyhoo ... like Julia said, it should have been fascinating. Does it seem to you like non-fiction writing has evolved considerably since the 1980s? In my experience older books are usually heavily laden with dates, facts & figures, and therefore can be a slog. The contemporary works I've read recently would be considered narrative non-fiction. They're easier to read and they hold my interest.

79karenmarie
Jul 23, 9:46am

Hi Amber!

>76 scaifea: By far the best discussion of language I've ever listened to is The Story of Language by Professor John McWhorter, a Great Courses audiobook. I listened to it in June 2018 and again in September 2019. It's 18.5 hours and 4.5 stars for me.

80scaifea
Jul 23, 10:10am

>77 rosalita: Ooof, sorry you suffered through some of that one, too, Julia.

81scaifea
Jul 23, 10:13am

>78 lauralkeet: Yep, the book is advertised on the cover as a companion to the series, which honestly should have clued me in that it would be too general for my tastes, at least.

It does seem that narrative non-fiction blossomed in the 90s, although I'm no expert. For this subject, though, I think I also need an actual linguist as the author, so that the book may actually tell me things I don't already know. *shrug* I'm not really in the market for one now; I just plucked this one off the shelf.

82scaifea
Jul 23, 10:13am

>79 karenmarie: I'm glad you found a lecture that you loved, Karen!

83connie53
Jul 23, 12:01pm

Hi Amber, just waving!

84scaifea
Jul 23, 12:07pm

>83 connie53: *waves back* Hi, Connie!

85lauralkeet
Jul 23, 1:13pm

>81 scaifea: too general for my tastes, at least
Oh yeah. That makes complete sense too. Better writing alone would not have done the trick. Still, it's a bummer when a book disappoints.

86scaifea
Jul 23, 1:23pm

>85 lauralkeet: Agreed! But, well, more time for better books, right?

87RebaRelishesReading
Jul 23, 1:53pm

>79 karenmarie: Not only do I find Prof. McWhorter most interesting I could listen to his voice all day every day. I read his book and Hubby and I watched his Great Courses video course. Total fan here.

88jnwelch
Jul 23, 2:05pm

Happy New Thread, Amber!

Man, able Baker Charlie's cake sure looks scrumptious.

Good review of Driftless. I'm tempted. I enjoyed Kent Haruf's books set in Colorado farm country, and your review reminded me of that.

I'm glad Dominicana worked for you. I felt it got somewhat overlooked during the American Dirt brouhaha.

89scaifea
Jul 23, 2:50pm

>87 RebaRelishesReading: Hi, Reba! He seems to have a loyal following!

90scaifea
Jul 23, 2:51pm

>88 jnwelch: Hi, Joe!

Yep, the kid can bake. And cook. It's wonderful.

I think you would love Driftless, Joe. And I agree that Dominicana should get more attention.

91jjmcgaffey
Jul 24, 1:34am

>79 karenmarie: Oh, pooh. As far as I can see that exists _only_ as an audiobook - and I wouldn't remember any of it or be able to track while it was playing (I drift off into my own thoughts, listening to audio). I love his Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue.

>87 RebaRelishesReading: Is that the book you meant? He's written several, I know, but that's the only one I've read so far.

92scaifea
Jul 24, 7:52am

>91 jjmcgaffey: Hi, Jennifer!

93scaifea
Jul 24, 7:57am

Today's Agenda:
A bit of laundry, some baking (banana bread), maybe some sewing, definitely some reading.

On the reading front:
I spent most of the time I could have been reading yesterday working on my course website instead, so not many pages were turned. What time I did take to read was spent with A Darker Shade of Magic, which I'm really enjoying so far.

What We're Watching:
Family Game Night was a bit of D&D, which was actually mostly Charlie helping Tomm and I level up our characters, and then we watched Captain American: The Winter Soldier as part of our Marvel Marathon. Possibly my least favorite Marvel movie (too much spy stuff and too many car chases and too many fight scenes. I like when Bucky's on screen and that's about it.

94msf59
Jul 24, 8:06am

Morning, Amber. Happy Saturday. Good review of Driftless. I am so glad you loved it but not at all surprised. A couple of us plan on reading the follow-up Jewelweed later in the year. Joe mentioned Haruf. Have you read Plainsong? One of my absolute favorites.

95scaifea
Jul 24, 8:17am

>94 msf59: Morning, Mark!

I didn't know he had a follow-up! I'll have to look into it. And nope, I've not read Plainsong, but I'm pretty sure it's on one of my lists somewhere.

96katiekrug
Jul 24, 9:09am

Banana bread sounds really good right now! I'll have to put bananas on the shopping list and let them rot :)

Have a good Saturday!

97foggidawn
Jul 24, 9:25am

Hah! I baked banana bread last night!

98SandyAMcPherson
Jul 24, 9:28am

>4 scaifea: Hiya Amber. I mostly missed all of the last thread... I hope to drift through quickly later this weekend. Forest fire smoke is due to return and outdoor activities will cease until that clears up a lot more.

Anyway, about the reading, some years ago (pre-LT) I re-read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and thought it was awful. It was one of those popular, oh-so-cool-to-read titles from when I was first in University. A "F" indeed.

I'm trying to get into a BB I had from your previous thread, Red, White, and Royal Blue. I think it is going to be a case of "amusing but not my jam"...

Off to skim the rest of this thread before it gets any longer!

99kidzdoc
Editado: Jul 24, 10:33am

Ooh, thanks for mentioning banana bread, Amber. I had promised one of my lovely partners, who helped me out tremendously during my long hospital call on Tuesday, some pastries from a century old Italian bakery in Philadelphia. I won't have time to go there this afternoon, on my way to Philadelphia International Airport back to Atlanta, but Nisha loved the half loaf of Chocolate Chip Banana Bread I gave to her two or three years ago. I'll make her a whole loaf of it next week.

100SirThomas
Jul 24, 12:56pm

A belated happy new thread, Amber!
>48 scaifea: Wonderful

101scaifea
Jul 24, 1:01pm

>96 katiekrug: >97 foggidawn: I tend to make a lot of banana bread, because I can never get all the bananas eaten before they enter the bread-making phase. But, well, banana bread is amazing, so I'm cool with it.

102scaifea
Jul 24, 1:01pm

>98 SandyAMcPherson: Hi, Sandy. I hope RW&RB turns around for you, but if it doesn't, well, not every book is for every reader, so that's okay.

103scaifea
Jul 24, 1:04pm

>99 kidzdoc: I used to take loaves of banana bread into Charlie's grade school teachers' lounge pretty frequently, and there was one teacher who finally approached me (this was when I was volunteering every day and was in the building a lot) and asked if I would give him a heads up when I did because he wanted to make sure to get a slice. He claimed that it never lasted long and he has missed it a couple of times and didn't want that to happen again! When Charlie moved to a new building, the same teacher said he'd be sad to see him go, and since Charlie had never had this teacher, I suspect it was because of the banana bread...

104scaifea
Jul 24, 1:04pm

>100 SirThomas: Thanks, Thomas!

105connie53
Jul 24, 1:26pm

Hi Amber, back again to get a better look at your thread.
And I read 'banana bread'! My son made that a few days back. I will ask him to let me taste a piece of it. I never had one, so I'm curious.

106scaifea
Jul 24, 1:30pm

>105 connie53: Oooh, I hope you love it, Connie! Banana Bread is the best! I love it warm with some butter melted into it.

107connie53
Jul 24, 2:30pm

If he does not have any left I will ask him to make it once more. My son is really a good cook.

108scaifea
Jul 24, 2:46pm

>107 connie53: It's fantastic having a son who's a great cook, isn't it?!

109scaifea
Jul 25, 8:02am

Today's Agenda:
More of the same as yesterday, really. Some sewing time and some reading. Some laundry. Housecleaning (ew). Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry for dinner tonight.

On the reading front:
I read a nice chunk of The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's yesterday, and listened to more of The House in the Cerulean Sea.

What We're Watching:
We finished GOblet of Fire last night.

110kidzdoc
Jul 25, 9:33am

>103 scaifea: Ha! That's a great story, Amber.

111scaifea
Jul 25, 2:54pm

>110 kidzdoc: Darryl: I loved having such a close and good relationship with the teachers there. It still feels strange not to know all of them here!

112johnsimpson
Jul 25, 4:51pm

Hi Amber my dear, A belated Happy new thread, dear friend.

113scaifea
Jul 25, 6:03pm

>112 johnsimpson: Thanks, John!

114RebaRelishesReading
Jul 25, 6:12pm

>91 jjmcgaffey: Yes, Jennifer, that's it.

115scaifea
Jul 26, 7:48am

116scaifea
Jul 26, 7:51am

Today's Agenda:
I need to make an appointment for Charlie's next blood draw this week, and then I'll be working on getting my course webpage ready. Possibly some reading in there somewhere, too. Meatball Soup for dinner tonight.

On the reading front:
I finished The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's yesterday - review to come.

What We're Watching:
We started Order of the Phoenix last night.

117scaifea
Jul 26, 9:54am



131. The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's by Talbot Baines Reed - 9/10 = A
Chronicles a year in the life of Oliver Greenfield (a member of the fifth form at St. Dominic's school), a couple of his friends (also in the fifth form), his younger brother (Stephen, who is working his way through his first year at the school and who is a member of the Fourth Junior class), and a boy in the sixth form, Loman. We follow them through various scrapes - both actual and metaphorical - and their triumphs as well.

I generally don't love British boarding school stories, but this one surprised me. The characters are instantly likable (or, in a couple of instances, instantly detestable in the best way), the plot is engaging and fun (there's an interesting mystery that's not easy to solve and gets resolved in a very satisfactory way), and the pacing is good. Definitely recommended, if you like this sort of thing.

118scaifea
Jul 26, 9:55am

Ooof. Charlie, Mario, and I took our usual morning walk, but dang it's HOT out there. And muggy. And just gross in general. We hates summer, precious.

119FAMeulstee
Jul 26, 9:57am

>118 scaifea: We feel the same, precious.

120jnwelch
Jul 26, 10:00am

Good morning, Amber. How are you liking The House in the Cerulean Sea? Becca loved it, and Debbi is reading it now.

121scaifea
Jul 26, 10:01am

>119 FAMeulstee: Summer is THE WORST. I am so very much looking forward to fall!

122scaifea
Jul 26, 10:02am

>120 jnwelch: Morning, Joe!

I'm loving the Klune! In fact, I've already talked it up to Charlie because I think he'll love it, too. I'm listening to the audio, but I think we need a copy for our shelves...

123Crazymamie
Jul 26, 11:09am

Morning, Amber! We also hates summer.

124scaifea
Jul 26, 11:55am

>123 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie!

*fist bump*

125foggidawn
Jul 26, 1:42pm

>118 scaifea: Ugh, it's The Worst out there. So hot, so early in the day. Ughhh.

126scaifea
Jul 26, 1:45pm

>125 foggidawn: Right?! GROSS. And I swear that our backyard, in the morning, is 50 degrees hotter than anywhere else on the face of the earth. The sun reflects off the siding, I think, to make things ridiculous. Honestly, the walk was bad, but then when I immediately took the gals out back for toilet time, I couldn't believe how much worse it felt. Thankfully it's nice and shady out there in the afternoon.

127SandyAMcPherson
Editado: Jul 26, 9:10pm

>119 FAMeulstee: So do we.
I'm worn out with heat-coping. I mean we have 30 °C (86.0 °F) heat or higher for a week here or there, but not solidly for weeks on end.

Not much comfort about low humidity makes it easier. I know that helps but the getting out for a walk or cycling activities are gross.

Edited to add that >117 scaifea: (The Fifth Form at St. Dominic's ) sounds like a comforting read to me. I can't see the title in our library or on the e-book loans, though. Fiddlesticks.

128jjmcgaffey
Jul 27, 1:30am

I got it from one of my libraries, but they got it from Project Gutenberg. Can you access that? www.gutenberg.org in the States. Phooey, doesn't look like it's on gutenberg.ca...

129scaifea
Editado: Jul 27, 7:43am

>127 SandyAMcPherson: It's going to be 88F here today. Again. GROSS.

I requested my copy from ILL, so yeah, I don't think it's widely available. Surely you can access it on gutenberg.org where you are, yeah?

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24632

>128 jjmcgaffey: Oh, okay, I see that it's public domain in the US, which apparently doesn't necessarily mean that's the case elsewhere. *sigh* Dang.

130scaifea
Jul 27, 7:52am

Today's Agenda:
Charlie and I are headed to the Children's Hospital clinic to get his follow-up spinal x-ray, finally. No big deal; his doc saw that it was a smidge curved a year and a half ago, and just wants to double check it to make sure it hasn't gotten worse. He (the doc) seemed pretty convinced that it was due to growing pains and would likely sort itself, but I agree that it's good to keep an eye on it.

Otherwise, a pretty normal day. I'll probably finish up the course web page today and then move on to getting my lecture notes sorted and my planner all tidy and ready to go. Then some reading, hopefully. The Meatball Soup was tasty last night (I used ground turkey instead of ground beef because I'm trying to be healthier and we like it), and tonight we'll have leftovers.

On the reading front:
I read a bit of The Sound and the Fury. (Spoilers for Linda's sake, who really probably shouldn't look.) I can only stand so much Faulkner in a sitting because his style grates on me, but I'll stick with it a bit longer, I suppose. I also started Halinka, which seems fair to middlin' so far.

What We're Watching:
We started Half Blood Prince last night.

131msf59
Jul 27, 8:09am

Morning, Amber! Checking in with my pal. How is the pup doing? I hope it all goes well at the clinic.

132scaifea
Editado: Jul 27, 8:15am

>131 msf59: Morning, Mark!

Simmons is doing great, and she and Mario are getting along like old pals now. It's a big relief. This hilarious incident happened a few days ago, which looks like a showdown at the OK Corral, but Mario actually shared pretty happily:



And thanks for the well wishes! Yes, fingers crossed that the curve hasn't curved any more, although it would just be a matter of wearing a brace for a bit, I suspect, so it wouldn't be the end of the world either way.

133karenmarie
Jul 27, 8:25am

Hi Amber!

I also hope the visit to the clinic goes well.

That pic of Mario and Simmons is adorable.

I have a killer turkey meat loaf recipe if you're interested, and we make turkey burgers all the time.

134rosalita
Editado: Jul 27, 9:18am

>132 scaifea: Good morning, Amber! I'm sure Charlie would do just fine in the unlikely event he has to wear a brace for his back. A girl I went to school with had to wear a body brace for scoliosis for a couple of years in junior/high school, but I don't remember it being much of a big deal for at all.

That picture of Mario bogarting all the toys is hilarious! Thanks for my morning laugh.

135scaifea
Jul 27, 9:09am

>133 karenmarie: Morning, Karen!

Thanks for the clinic good wishes. At least the x-ray is fast and painless.

I've been using ground turkey or chicken for a while now in my meatloaf and I agree that it's excellent!

136scaifea
Jul 27, 9:11am

>134 rosalita: Morning, Julia! I had a friend in high school who wore a brace, too, and yep, it was no big deal. Charlie tends to take these things in stride as well, so I'm not worried really, either way.

It's so funny to watch the gals play in the backyard. There's lots of good-natured rough-housing these days, which is great because it's good exercise for Mario and a great energy outlet for Simmons. Win-win!

137katiekrug
Jul 27, 9:17am

I'm so glad Mario and Simmons have found their way together!

138rosalita
Jul 27, 9:18am

>136 scaifea: I'm just glad you've been set free from the kitchen to move freely about the aircraft. :-D

139scaifea
Jul 27, 9:31am

>137 katiekrug: YES! I knew we'd get there eventually (or fervently hoped, at least), but it's so great that we can relax about it now.

140scaifea
Jul 27, 9:35am

>138 rosalita: Oh, well, no. Still mostly in the kitchen most of the day because Simmons is still in the chewy phase. But she's getting really good at entertaining herself (she drops the ball at my feet, runs to the other side of the kitchen, gets in her Border Collie butt-in-the-air-intense-stare stance, and waits for me to kick it) so I can actually get work or reading done. She's also really good about getting happily into the crate and not complaining at all when we need to go out or at bedtime, so I suspect that when I start teaching in a few weeks she'll be fine in the crate for that hour of the day and my students won't have to endure puppy whines in the background. Hopefully soon enough she'll be sitting behind me in my chair while I teach, with Mario laying beside it. Best Teaching Assistants ever.

141curioussquared
Jul 27, 11:35am

I love Mario hoarding the toys outside. Good girls!

142scaifea
Jul 27, 1:07pm

>141 curioussquared: Yes! Mario is actually being an absolute darling about it all. She was disgruntled at first, but I think she now realizes that she's not really getting any less attention than before (in fact, probably more), plus she's gained a buddy!

143SandyAMcPherson
Jul 27, 10:16pm

>132 scaifea: Resident Alpha dog versus cute new puppy. 😇

I love the photo of your pets in the back yard.
And nice to know that Mario is not really hogging all the toys.

Hope the kiddo's spinal scan was all good.

And in case you need a laugh just now, the scene when my grandkids disagree on the game rules....

144scaifea
Jul 28, 7:52am

>143 SandyAMcPherson: Ha! Mario doesn't really have an alpha bone in her body. She gets a little attention-jealous, but she really has no desire to be in charge. I think that will work out well because BCs really, really do want to be in charge.

I'm not sure when we'll know the results of the x-ray; I assume the doc will call us if we need to follow up. The actual procedure was fast and easy, though, and we love the Nationwide Children's Hospital Close to Home facility. Streamlined and super-friendly, always.

Ha! Well, Monopoly is the worst.

145scaifea
Jul 28, 8:05am

Today's Agenda:
Big day here at Scaife Manor: It's the 3rd anniversary of us moving here and so we always get pizza for dinner to celebrate, since we ordered pizza when we got here on moving day. Also, Able Baker Charlie will be making Harry Potter's birthday cake, based on Hagrid's recipe, o' course. Then this afternoon he's meeting (virtually) with the D&D group he organized, and this evening he and Tomm are having DC Night.

I'll be acting as sous chef, as always, which means that I do the dishes as he goes along, essentially, and help him find stuff he needs in the cupboards, although at this point he pretty much knows where everything is. Otherwise, besides our mid-morning walk, I'll be working on course prep, writing, and hopefully more reading than yesterday. The class web page is finished and I spent a happy afternoon organizing my new planner - everything is color-coded and neatly sorted and I love it.

On the reading front:
Not much reading time yesterday, because I wanted to get finished with the web page and the planner stuff and so pushed through with that instead. I did start Sick in the Head last night, which is not what I thought it would be; it's a series of interviews Apatow did with various comedians instead of the more straightforward memoir I thought it was. Still, it's interesting so far.

What We're Watching:
We finished up Half-Blood Prince last night.

So the CDC announced yesterday that all schools should have a fully-masked, vaxxed or not, policy this fall. The Columbus school district is doing that, but ours is not, so far, and I suspect they won't (this is a fairly red little town). *sigh* I'm not too worried about Charlie, since we're all fully vaccinated, but it's frustrating to me that people are being so stupid about all of this. Just. Wear. The. Damn. Mask.

146Crazymamie
Jul 28, 8:41am

Morning, Amber! I love the backyard photo of the gals.

Hooray for the web page being done and dusted and for the whipping into shape of the new planner. I love organizing stuff - it makes me slightly giddy.

There was a HOT discussion of that CDC announcement in the beauty salon yesterday which I stayed out of - I also live in a red zone. It boggles the mind that the issue of mask wearing, which should be about science and common sense, is now about politics. Sad and angry making at the same time.

147rosalita
Jul 28, 9:19am

>145 scaifea: Happy anniversary of The Big Move! Pizza is always a solid choice. Do you have a favorite pizza joint where you live?

One of the last bills the Iowa legislature passed before they adjourned in May was a law prohibiting any public school or local munincipality from mandating mask wearing for anyone, forever. So, yeah.

148scaifea
Jul 28, 9:34am

>146 Crazymamie: Morning, Mamie!

I absolutely LOVE sitting down to get organized with my planner and a pile of colored pens! I was in heaven yesterday.

I'm in a couple of local parent FB groups and YEESH, they are not happy with the thought that their kids might have to wear masks this year. Some very heated (and thickly misspelled) rants about organizing protests and just refusing to comply. Oi with the poodles already. I also did not join in on the discussion. *ahem*

149scaifea
Jul 28, 9:38am

>147 rosalita: Yep, our state government has been fighting such things, too, but hasn't been as successful, I guess, since at least the Columbus schools are requiring masks.

We *do* have a favorite local pizza joint, Johnnies Villa Pizza, and it's amazing. A tiny mom-and-pop place and the pizza is so, so good. However. On Moving Day we didn't know about that place yet, so we ordered from Domino's, and so of course me MUST order Domino's tonight. Anything else would be heretical, according to The Boss (aka, Charlie).

Here's the website for Villa Pizza, if anyone's interested in browsing the menu:

http://johnniesvillapizza.com/

150rosalita
Jul 28, 9:48am

>149 scaifea: I think Tevye Charlie is absolutely right. 🎶 TRADITION! 🎶

151scaifea
Jul 28, 9:50am

>150 rosalita: *SNORK!!!*

152katiekrug
Jul 28, 10:05am

I am all for tradition but ordering Domino's is just Not Right.

;-)

153scaifea
Jul 28, 10:19am

>152 katiekrug: *snork!* I know people here have strong pizza opinions, but we kind of like Domino's. We're a simple folk.

154MickyFine
Jul 28, 11:52am

Mmm, pizza. Always a good choice.

When do you start classes again, Amber? I assume with all the course website prep it must be pretty soon?

155scaifea
Jul 28, 11:55am

>154 MickyFine: I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to pizza - I have been for about a week!

UDayton starts up on August 23rd; Charlie starts August 18th. So I've got a couple of weeks, but I wanted to get the webpage up and running for those students who like to see the syllabus in advance and such. I'll send out a Welcome to Latin email in early August, too; since my class is entirely online/zoom, I need to make sure everyone knows and remembers that and knows how to log in to the zoomroom for the first day.

156scaifea
Jul 28, 12:16pm

We may have sat on it at some point, be we imagine it'll taste fine just the same:

157Crazymamie
Jul 28, 1:10pm

158foggidawn
Jul 28, 1:11pm

159katiekrug
Jul 28, 1:30pm

>153 scaifea: - After your culinary tour of New Jersey you will understand the error of your ways.

I want cake!

160SandyAMcPherson
Jul 28, 1:31pm

Just. Wear. The. Damn. Mask.
*exactly* ~ this should not be about politics.

>156 scaifea: Did I read that correctly? Who sat on the cake?!

161MickyFine
Jul 28, 1:33pm

That looks fantastic!

162scaifea
Jul 28, 1:37pm

>157 Crazymamie: >158 foggidawn: Thanks! I'll pass on the compliments to Charlie!

163scaifea
Jul 28, 1:38pm

>159 katiekrug: *snork!* I mean, it's not like I don't know what really good pizza tastes like; I just love all pizzas. All. Pizzas.

Come on over - we'll share cake with you.

164scaifea
Jul 28, 1:38pm

>160 SandyAMcPherson: Ha! Sitting on the cake is a Harry Potter reference.

165scaifea
Jul 28, 1:38pm

>161 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I'll tell Charlie you think so!

166SandyAMcPherson
Jul 28, 1:42pm

>164 scaifea: Well... I did read the Potter books but it was back when I was younger and actually could remember those sorts of stories.

167scaifea
Jul 29, 7:06am

>166 SandyAMcPherson: I can't remember if he says it in the book, but in the movie it's what Hagrid says to Harry when he gives him the birthday cake he made. I only remember because of the movies, which we watch every year in July. I've been craving a series reread, though, too.

168scaifea
Jul 29, 7:12am

Today's Agenda:
This morning Charlie has another blood draw - he's hoping it's the last. I'll spend the rest of the day working on course prep and writing, probably. Baked potatoes for dinner tonight.

On the reading front:
I finished Halinka, read through Tashi, started Three Times Lucky, read a bit of The Viscount Who Loved Me, and listened to more of The House in the Cerulean Sea.

169jayde1599
Jul 29, 7:56am

>145 scaifea: Maine’s governor is following the CDC guidelines that if a county has elevated numbers than all individuals must wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination AND everyone in K-12 schools must stay masked indoors.
Luckily, I had never really gotten out of the mask habit when visiting stores/school. But I seem to be in the minority

170rosalita
Jul 29, 8:53am

I was perusing the menu for Villa Pizza and now I'm jonesing for a meatball sub. The pizzas also look yummy.

171scaifea
Jul 29, 9:13am

>169 jayde1599: Jess: Ooof, I'm jealous. I wish my state's government were so not-dumb. We've also been wearing masks out and about the whole time, too, and still will for the foreseeable future, although I'm not sure what Charlie will do at school.

172scaifea
Jul 29, 9:14am

>170 rosalita: Yes! The pizza's *are* yummy. I've not had any of their subs yet, but Tomm has and they look amazing. Come visit and we'll order some!

173rosalita
Jul 29, 9:41am

>172 scaifea: On my way! :-)

174scaifea
Jul 29, 9:43am

>173 rosalita: YES! There's also HP cake, of course, too...

175scaifea
Jul 29, 9:51am



132. Halinka by Mirjam Pressler (1001 Children's Books) - 9/10 - A-
Halinka lives in a "home," an orphanage, of sorts, in post-WW2 Germany. Her mother was abusive, but she longs to live with her aunt, whom she describes as loving and wanting to take care of Halinka but can't until she finds a husband. Halinka hesitates to make friends in the home because she believes opening up to people will lead to pain, but she slowly learns that that's not always the case.

This is not exactly a happy story, but it does end on a hopeful upturn. It's well-written, despite Halinka being a little too observant and articulate for her age (a constant issue with middle grade books written in the first person), and the characters are very nicely drawn. I love that certain plot points are left unresolved when resolving them would have made the ending too pat and saccharine. As it stands, the story is perhaps a bit darker than it would have been, but much more realistic and satisfactory. Halinka is a complicated little girl, and I love her for it.

176scaifea
Jul 29, 10:10am



133. Tashi by Anna Fienberg (1001 Children's Books) - 8/10 = B+
A short, more-picture-book-than-chapter book about a sort-of magical boy who flies into town on a swan and tells another boy who befriends him all sorts of tall tales about dragons and warlords and giants. It's cute and the illustrations are pretty great.

177foggidawn
Jul 29, 10:38am

Looks like you're on a roll in terms of good books -- Halinka sounds interesting to me; I'd never heard of it before.

178rosalita
Jul 29, 10:46am

>175 scaifea: Sounds like a good one. Refreshing to have it set in post-WW2 Germany; I'm a little burned out on wartime books and the postwar period is so very interesting all on its own. And totally agree on the first-person kids often seeming a bit precocious, and also on the satisfaction of a less pat ending. I think I would have loved this book at the right age.

179MickyFine
Jul 29, 11:01am

Mmm, baked potatoes. Toppings of choice?

180Crazymamie
Jul 29, 11:04am

Morning, Amber! We are also doing baked potato bar for dinner - it's one of my favorite meals.

181scaifea
Jul 29, 11:07am

>177 foggidawn: It's a German book, and possibly one of the more obscure 1001 Children's selections. I had to ILL it, but I recommend it, once you have more time to read non-award books...

182scaifea
Jul 29, 11:08am

>178 rosalita: I agree about the refreshing part, although there's not a lot of historical context going on really. It's also well-written enough to appeal to adults, I think, if you want to try to track it down.

183scaifea
Jul 29, 11:08am

>179 MickyFine: We're not very fancy here with our baked potatoes and usually have them with just butter and pepper. I usually steam some carrots to go with them.

184scaifea
Jul 29, 11:09am

>180 Crazymamie: Ha! I always think of you when we have baked potatoes because I know you all love that meal, too!

185scaifea
Jul 29, 11:10am

I'm having leftover pizza for my lunch - one of my favorite meals. I went with the Philly Cheesesteak pizza to try something new and I love it! Charlie's polishing off the Parmesan Breadtwists with his lunch - they're good, too, but a little too garlicky for me.

186jjmcgaffey
Jul 29, 7:22pm

>185 scaifea: ...I'm...having trouble with this concept. _Too_ garlicky? Is there such a thing?

187quondame
Jul 29, 7:27pm

>186 jjmcgaffey: I know right. Currently that is only assayed after the fact if Mike's digestion balks at it. I sometimes would rather the aftertaste cleared my system sooner, but it's never tasted like too much in the first place.

188scaifea
Jul 29, 9:38pm

>186 jjmcgaffey: >187 quondame: Tomm can’t eat garlic (one bite will send him straight to the ER) so we’ve lost the taste for it, I suppose, because I never cook with it anymore.

189jjmcgaffey
Jul 30, 12:29am

Ah, right. I'd forgotten.

190scaifea
Jul 30, 7:28am

Today's Agenda:
Grocery shopping, weekly bill sorting, course prep, writing, maybe some reading. Frozen Friday for dinner.

On the reading front:
I read bits of The Viscount Who Loved Me, A Darker Shade of Magic, and Three Times Lucky yesterday, plus I'm nearly finished listening to The House in the Cerulean Sea.

What We're Watching:
We started the first Deathly Hallows movie last night.

191MickyFine
Jul 30, 11:53am

Sounds like a quietly productive Friday, Amber. Hope it's a good one!

192scaifea
Jul 30, 12:01pm

>191 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky.

193scaifea
Jul 30, 12:03pm



134. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune (audiobook) - 9/10 = A
Linus Baker works for the agency that oversees the regulation of magical children. And yeah, they're the bad guys. But Linus, who seems to realize that the people he works for are oppressive and awful, does his best to do the best he can for the children he visits in the company-run orphanages. He prides himself on his thorough work and his dedication to his job, which may be why he is chosen by Extremely Upper Management to take on a Top Secret Case and visit an orphanage that houses particularly...interesting children. The assignment changes his outlook and his life when he realizes that he is capable of more than he knows, as are those around him.

I. Loved. It. Fantastic characters, wonderful use of magic as metaphor for Other Important Issues, and perfectly pitched for, I would argue, middle grade through adult. I listened to the audio version, but I'm ordering a copy for Charlie's shelves because I'm convinced he'll love it, too.

194scaifea
Jul 30, 1:23pm

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we got Mario's blood test results back and her thyroid levels are a little low, which may explain why her butt starts dragging on walks after three minutes and why she's slightly on the chonk side even on just two cups of food a day. So we've got her on some meds now and hopefully that will get her back to normal energy and weight levels soon.

195foggidawn
Jul 30, 5:58pm

>193 scaifea: Yayyy! Glad you loved it (I did, too)! And I agree that Charlie will probably enjoy it, too. Such a feel-good read.

I hope the meds work as desired for sweet Mario.

196scaifea
Jul 30, 6:26pm

>195 foggidawn: Yes! It's *such* a good book. I could see it becoming a comfort read for me.

And thanks - we hope so, too.

197scaifea
Jul 31, 8:32am

Today's Agenda:
We've had our celebratory cauldron cakes (a lemony kind of pancake) for breakfast already this morning (It's HP's birthday, dontcha know), and soon Tomm and Charlie are going out shopping for my birthday, which is next weekend. I'll stay here with the gals and bake. I'm making dog biscuits to give to the neighborhood dogs that we love to pass by every day on our walks. I'll package them up with a little note about how we enjoy seeing Mario's friends every day - there are five dogs that we've all become very fond of, and I've been wanting to do this for several months now. I'd also like to get some sewing time in but we'll see if that happens.

On the reading front:
I finished up The Sound and the Fury and Sick in the Head yesterday - reviews to come. I also read a bit more of Three Times Lucky, and I'll probably start Black Sun on audio today.

What We're Watching:
Guardians of the Galaxy last night as part of our Marvel Movie Marathon. One of my favorites.

198foggidawn
Jul 31, 9:24am

>197 scaifea: Aww, that's a sweet gesture! I should bake dog biscuits for Lottie -- she gets small ones throughout the day, and one large one at bedtime. I bet baking them would be cheaper than buying them, and that way I would know exactly what was in them. Do you have a favorite dog biscuit recipe?

199scaifea
Jul 31, 9:29am

>198 foggidawn: I've made them from scratch before, but this time I'm using a King Arthur Flour mix. It *is* nice to know just what's in them, and this mix is pretty simple on the ingredient list, too.

200scaifea
Jul 31, 9:48am



135. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (books I'm reading with my friend, Rob) - 7/10 = C-
I'm...not a fan. Feels like some unholy mashup of Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway, but make it southern gothic.* And also? Stream of consciousness writing is exhausting and frankly not worth it for me here. Yes, sure, he may have a talent for mimicking thoughts and how they bounce around while still in the brain and he may have been a breakthrough artist in that area, but "just because you can doesn't mean you should" has never felt more applicable. I slogged through it because I was curious about how the various sections played out, but yeah, I think it's safe to say that Faulkner is not my jam. (I did like As I Lay Dying (or maybe "like" isn't the right word choice here - transfixed by morbid curiosity? I think that's closer to accurate) when I read it in college, but it's been a downhill slide for my relationship with William's work since then.)

*Yep, I know the timing doesn't quite work out there, but I'm not talking actual writer influences here. I'm talking about my own reception of the thing.

201katiekrug
Jul 31, 10:13am

>200 scaifea: - Onward!

202scaifea
Jul 31, 10:24am

203scaifea
Jul 31, 10:34am



136. Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow (Read Soon! Shelves) - 8/10 = B-
Disappointing, but it's my own fault. I assumed this was a more straightforward memoir, but it's a series of interviews Apatow did with various comedians, and I'm not very keen on reading interviews. So, I skimmed and read the ones involving people I like most (Adam Sandler, Amy Schumer, Jim Carrey,...). But overall, meh. If you like this sort of thing, though, go for it.

204rosalita
Jul 31, 10:48am

Good morning, Amber! The cauldron cakes sound yummy. And how sweet to make biscuits for Mario's neighborhood pals!

I've been meaning to mention that I found an unknown-to-me Stephen Fry series on Acorn recently. It's called Kingdom, and Fry plays a small town lawyer who gets involved a variety of fairly goofy cases, all while trying to learn more about his brother's disappearance at sea. It's gentle comedy splashed with some deeper stuff, and I'm enjoying it. I thought I'd mention it because I know you're a Fry girl yourself. Have you ever seen it?

205scaifea
Jul 31, 10:50am

>204 rosalita: The cauldron cakes *are* yummy, but a little more fussy than my usual pancake recipe (they're super-light and so more difficult to flip without messing them up). Worth it, though, because the lemon is so lovely in there.

And ooooOOOOooo, I haven't heard of that series!! Sounds wonderful. We don't have Acorn (it's one of the few streaming services Tomm has yet to succumb to), but I wonder if I can find it elsewhere...

206scaifea
Jul 31, 2:19pm

Um, so the dog biscuits are in the oven and they smell disturbingly good. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that a KAF dog biscuit mix makes the whole house smell like baked bread, but still. Like, I kind of want one of them.

207jjmcgaffey
Ago 1, 1:16am

Well, you know what the ingredients are...anything you don't want to eat?

208LovingLit
Ago 1, 3:27am

>145 scaifea: ...everything is color-coded and neatly sorted and I love it.
I love it too :)

>200 scaifea: Ouch, not a win then!? I haven't read him (yet).

209scaifea
Ago 1, 9:16am

>207 jjmcgaffey: Oh sure, they're perfectly edible -wheat flour and flax and carrots and yeast, essentially. It's just the concept, I guess.

210scaifea
Ago 1, 9:17am

>208 LovingLit: I *love* getting completely organized! It's honestly energizing for me.

Oh, don't let my review turn you away - there are plenty of folks who love his stuff, and you may be one of them...

211scaifea
Ago 1, 9:26am

Today's Agenda:
I made Apple Cinnamon Scones this morning from a KAF box mix (can you tell I recently made a big order?) and they were pretty good, and the dogs have had their monthly flea&tick and heartworm meds. Mario is easy-peasy because that dog will eat anything if it's covered in peanut butter. This was Simmon's first go-round with the meds and she was a bit more challenging. We got there, though, in the end. Now I'm having my morning coffee and playing fetch with Simmons (that gal is obsessed with the ball these days). I'd like to get into the sewing room today for a bit - I spent an hour in there yesterday but netted zero progress; I had to rip out the stitches I made because of a stupid mistake. Ugh. I'll also spend some time reading this afternoon, I suspect. Honey Soy Pork Chops with Broccoli for dinner tonight, I think. I've got the dog biscuits all packed up and ready to hand out on our evening walk today.

On the reading front:
I may finish up Three Times Lucky today, depending on how much reading time I manage. Black Sun is my current audio and it's interesting so far, but I'm still in the early stages/character and plot set-up area, which can sometimes be tedious for me, especially with audiobooks for some reason. We'll see how it goes.

What We're Watching:
We finished the first of the two Deathly Hallows movies - our annual HP marathon is nearly finished.

212lauralkeet
Ago 1, 10:17am

Our pups love their monthly flea & tick meds. They're chewable and must taste okay. But Woody is on additional meds now, capsules that smell awful to us, and must taste yucky too. Peanut butter seems to help.

I have a KAF scone mix in the pantry -- cranberry orange, I think. Thanks for the reminder, I should give them a try soon.

213scaifea
Ago 1, 11:12am

>212 lauralkeet: These are all chewable, too - I think Simmons likes the taste okay, but was just having a hard time chewing them up? Anyway, I always add some peanut butter because life doesn't have enough treats. Mario's thyroid meds are just plain pills, but I suspect she'd eat them easily without the PB, too. So goofy.

The apple cinnamon mix was pretty good, although the freeze-dried apples were a little, well, freeze-dried tasting. Charlie liked them a lot, though, so we'll probably try other flavors. I also ordered a muffin/quick bread mix and will probably try that one next weekend. I like making that stuff from scratch, but it's also nice to have a quick mix on hand for when you want something but don't really feel like putting the effort in.

214lauralkeet
Ago 1, 12:09pm

I generally prefer baking from scratch too, Amber. I fell for the scone mixes because I love cranberry orange flavors but don't usually have the stuff on hand to create that.

215scaifea
Ago 1, 12:28pm

>214 lauralkeet: Occasionally I get what my mom calls a "wild hair" and wanted to order All The Things, hence all the mixes right now.

216scaifea
Ago 1, 4:31pm



137. Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (Newbery Honor Book) - 9/10 = A-
A delightful story about a girl who was found as a baby on a makeshift raft after a hurricane and raised by a man, who crashed his car and lost him memory during that same storm, and his friend/girlfriend/partner. The three of them run the only cafe in their tiny southern town, and Mo (the girl) is determined to find the mother who lost her all those years ago. But when a murder turns the tiny town upside down, she and her best friend, Dale, turn their detective skills toward solving mysteries other than parental ones.

This one's an absolute hoot. Great characters, excellent atmosphere and setting, and a great little mystery with nice twists along the way. Fantastic middle grade read.

217SandyAMcPherson
Ago 1, 10:38pm

>216 scaifea: And it is not sad? My sad-o-meter seems to be touchy these days...
It sounds interesting. Where did the 'absolute hoot' part come in? Was it what the kids got up to?
I'm asking because (in case my question seems weird) I always pre-read the books I'm giving my grandchildren. It's very educational what 10-year olds are reading in my granddaughter's circle. Educational to me! They're into stuff I would have thought 4 or 5 years too old for them (complex, cerebral, a little bit violent ~ says the old Gramma).

218scaifea
Ago 2, 7:48am

>217 SandyAMcPherson: I wouldn't say it's sad at all. Very uplifting, really, without being saccharine. The hoot is in the dialogue, which is clever and funny. I think it would be perfect for a 10yo reader.

219scaifea
Editado: Ago 2, 7:55am

Today's Agenda:
A bit of cleaning, some course prep, some writing, maybe some sewing?, a quick trip to the library to pick up holds, and definitely some reading. I intend to enjoy our walks today as much as possible, since it seems from the forecast that this will be our last 70s-and-breezy day for a long while; the rest of the week will be upper 80s. Gross. Chef Charlie's in charge of of dinner tonight; he's chosen Pea Pasta to make. (Anyone else watch Charles in Charge back in the day? I love randomly singing the theme song just to get an eye roll from our resident Charles.)

On the reading front:
I started Better Late Than Never and All Thirteen yesterday, plus made some progress with Black Sun on audio.

What We're Watching:
We finished up our HP Movie Marathon last night with the second Deathly Hallows movie.

220drneutron
Ago 2, 9:27am

😂 Charles in Charge.😂

221scaifea
Ago 2, 9:36am

>220 drneutron: Do you remember the show, Jim? I started singing the theme song to Charlie as a baby and it kind of stuck.

222Crazymamie
Ago 2, 9:39am

Morning, Amber! I remember the show, but for the life of me I can't remember the theme song.

223scaifea
Ago 2, 9:42am

>222 Crazymamie: Ha! I was posting over on your thread while you were over here! I love it when that happens.

Here's the theme song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvoTRhtGeWo

224katiekrug
Ago 2, 9:51am

I loved Charles in Charge. It's forever ruined for me because of Scott Baio's political views. He now makes me cringe.

225scaifea
Ago 2, 10:10am

>224 katiekrug: Oh, agreed about Baio and his views. Ugh.

226lauralkeet
Ago 2, 10:19am

Amber, KAF is currently offering free shipping on orders over $75. I don't really *need* anything right now so that's a pretty high threshold, but I value your opinion. What are your favorite KAF products and/or items you can't live without?

227swynn
Ago 2, 10:21am

>200 scaifea: A few years ago I started the Faulkner oeuvre, and am still stuck on TSATF. Frankly, I'm intimidated by it. Still not in a hurry. But someday. I also liked As I Lay Dying as an undergrad.

>216 scaifea: Into the Swamp with that one.

228drneutron
Editado: Ago 2, 10:25am

>221 scaifea: Yup, we watched, but not, like, super regular. It was fun, though!

229drneutron
Editado: Ago 2, 10:45am

230Crazymamie
Ago 2, 11:29am

>223 scaifea: I also loved when that happens!! Thanks for the link.

>225 scaifea: Yep. Same. It's very sad on a personal level because I had a huge crush on him when I was a teenager and he played Chachi on Happy Days. Now he has ruined that for me. I mean, really, teenage crushes should be sacred.

>229 drneutron: You made me snort my coffee. It hurt a bit.

231scaifea
Ago 2, 11:31am

>226 lauralkeet: Well, this is my first time using their mixes, so I don't have any stand-out favorites there. I do love their espresso powder - I put in in pretty much everything chocolate that I bake. And I love their bakeware (loaf pans, cake pans,...), and they have loads of neat gadgets. I know, not very helpful. Sorry! There are more things that I keep thinking, "Oh, I want to try that!" than there are things that I've actually tried, I guess?

232scaifea
Ago 2, 11:33am

>227 swynn: Ha! I'm more annoyed than intimidated by Faulkner. Good luck with getting through it - I hope you enjoy it more than I did, honestly.

And yay - I hope you love the Turnage when you get to it!

233scaifea
Ago 2, 11:33am

>228 drneutron: I can't remember many details of the show itself, but for some reason the theme song staked a claim in my memory forever.

234scaifea
Ago 2, 11:33am

>229 drneutron: *snork!* I love that one!

235scaifea
Ago 2, 11:36am

>230 Crazymamie: Teenage crushes SHOULD be sacred! I remember liking Chachi okay, but being on the same show as The Fonz, he mostly escaped my notice. I. LOVED. The Fonz. I was grade school level for that one, but I think my biggest teen crushes were Kirk Cameron, who has pretty much the same political ick factor at this point as Chachi, and Michael J. Fox, whom I am still in love with because every time I see him in an interview these days, he's just as snarky and wonderful as ever.

236drneutron
Ago 2, 11:52am

>234 scaifea: 😀 Thought you might...

237katiekrug
Ago 2, 11:53am

>229 drneutron: - Ha!

>235 scaifea: - Oooh, crushes of our youth. My #1 was Michael J. Fox, followed closely by the guy who played Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. Maybe my crush was on the character... ?

238Crazymamie
Ago 2, 12:01pm

I also have big love for Michael J. Fox - he's great both on screen and off.

239scaifea
Ago 2, 12:16pm

240scaifea
Ago 2, 12:17pm

>237 katiekrug: MJF is amazing. I didn't see Sixteen Candles until I was in college and Jake Ryan wasn't all that appealing by then, I think?

241scaifea
Ago 2, 12:18pm

>238 Crazymamie: Yes! We've been rewatching Spin City, and he's so charming in that, as he is in everything.

242lauralkeet
Ago 2, 12:29pm

>231 scaifea: Thanks, Amber. I've bought a few of their non-food products in addition to flours and baking ingredients. It started with a bread pan, because mine was ancient and actually sort of rusty. I also bought a couple of containers to store brown sugar and keep it from drying out, and one of those mats for rolling out pie crust (although I mostly use it when kneading dough).

Well, maybe I'll have a peek at the KAF site today ...

243scaifea
Ago 2, 1:29pm

>242 lauralkeet: Laura: Their various flours are one of my daydream purchases: if ever we're filthy rich, I'll buy nothing but KAF flours, but I use so much of the stuff because we bake so much here that it would be too pricey. So I buy the cheaper stuff. For now. I'd also love to buy their vanillas and cinnamons and such, but, well, same problem.

244lauralkeet
Ago 2, 3:45pm

>243 scaifea: I buy their bread flour, Amber, but the recipe I use mixes it with whole wheat and I already have another brand on hand which is working just fine. For reasons I no longer remember I picked up a bag of regular unbleached flour in another order, only to realize I already had some. Oh well, like you I do enough baking that it will get used.

My initial excitement about the free shipping has also abated, as I thought it might. Sure, there's the odd gadget or storage container that would be nice to have, but it can wait until another time when I actually need to order supplies.

245scaifea
Ago 2, 3:52pm

>244 lauralkeet: Ooh, yep, that's why it's probably a good idea to walk away and come back later - impulse buying is a struggle.

246connie53
Ago 3, 4:14am

Starting to keep up (Again) from here on.

And yes, it's great to have a son that can cook. I got a portion of Bami from him and is tasted great.

247scaifea
Ago 3, 7:45am

>246 connie53: Hi, Connie! Great to see you! Charlie made dinner last night and it was excellent, as always - pasta with olive oil, peas, and parmesan. Yum.

248connie53
Ago 3, 7:48am

Sounds delicious, Amber.

249scaifea
Ago 3, 7:55am

Today's Agenda:
Charlie has a dermatology appointment this morning - his face is really starting to clear up and I think he's happy about that before school starts - and then otherwise it should be a normal day. I'll probably do some course prep, some writing, maybe some knitting, and definitely some reading. For dinner tonight I'm going to try to recreate a casserole dish that my mom used to make when I was a kid. She just called it Stuff, and got the recipe from a lady we knew from church, whom we always called Crazy Ernestine (she was, in fact, hilarious). It's a layered dish with ground meat on the bottom (mom always used beef but I'm going with ground turkey), cabbage, carrots, potatoes, the inevitable can of creamed soup, and cheese. I used to love it when I was little and had forgotten about it, but something made me remember the last time we visited my parents. We'll see how it goes.

It's my dad's 88th birthday today, so of course I'll put in a call home at some point during the day, too.

On the reading front:
I started Vis and Ramin yesterday, listened to some of Black Sun, and read a bit of All Thirteen. I'm excited about Vis and Ramin because I've not done enough reading from that period or area and from the introduction it's sounding amazing. Black Sun is picking up speed now that I'm out of the setup section at the beginning.

What We're Watching:
Charlie's pick last night - we watched a couple of Gilmore Girls episodes.

250lauralkeet
Ago 3, 8:00am

>249 scaifea: My mom made a dish we called "Goop," which included ground beef, noodles, and cream of mushroom soup. I don't recall any vegetables but can't say for sure. Your mention of Stuff brought back some fond memories.

Happy birthday to your dad!

251jayde1599
Ago 3, 8:35am

>249 scaifea: I am sure the mention of your casserole will bring up memories for many!
Mine is a dish my grandmother called Tokay - ground beef, onions, potatoes, tomato soup and topped with Bisquick. It took about an hour to make in a Pot and I don’t think I have had it since I spent a summer with her after college.
She had a few dishes that she would make to feed 5 girls when money was tight, this being one of them.

252scaifea
Ago 3, 8:36am

>250 lauralkeet: Morning, Laura!

Goop! I love it. I suspect that there are all manner of variations on this theme out there. Not super healthy and certainly not haute cuisine, but fond memories for sure.

And thanks for the birthday wishes! I'll pass them along.

253scaifea
Ago 3, 8:38am

>251 jayde1599: Hi, Jess!

Yep, I suspect a lot of us grew up with such dishes. Thanks for sharing your memory! My mom never used Bisquick on top of casseroles - too much like dumplings and my dad *hates* dumplings - but I know that's a popular casserole thing.

254karenmarie
Ago 3, 9:04am

Hi Amber!

>249 scaifea: I'm glad to hear that Charlie's face is clearing up, and good timing with school ahead.

Happy birthday to your dad. I’ve got 4 family/friend birthdays today myownself.

Good luck with recreating Stuff. My dad was violently opposed to casseroles for some reason, and I can only remember two casseroles from my childhood. Thank goodness my husband likes them.

255scaifea
Ago 3, 9:16am

>254 karenmarie: I don't make a lot of casseroles either, mostly because they tend to need ingredients (pasta, seasonings) that Tomm can't have. As it is, I suspect he won't eat this one because cream of canned soups have gluten thickening agents, I think. It's also supposed to have a layer of onions but I don't even keep those in the house, since one bite would send Tomm straight to the ER. We have Tomm-friendly leftovers, though, so it's all good.
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