Friday, December 18

Coming up for air

This is my second Christmas working for our church.  I don't remember last year being so busy. 

At home the tree is up and decorated, the cards are out and I started the candy making and baking last night.  Nothing is wrapped.

Tuesday, December 15

Nothing New

That is I'm not reading anything new.   I've given up on the TBR pile.  I'm sure there are some great books in there, but nothing is screaming "READ ME." 

I did finish Jude Deveraux's The Taming and The Conquest.  Both were written more than 15 years ago.  Both are old school style romances.  I didn't expect to still enjoy them, but I did.  Deveraux hits all my "redemption" buttons.  Both have a bit of The Taming of the Shrew thing going on.  In The Taming it's the Peregrine oldest brother that needs taming/redemption and in The Conquest it's the only Peregrine sister that is tamed.  The Peregrine family title and lands have been stolen by a manipulative Howard going back two generations.  They are taught to hate, to the point of obsession, all things Howard.  Considering what the Howards have done to them over the last two generations, it's probably understandable.  Slaughter, starvation and utter poverty drives everything the Peregrine's do, from how they treat each other, to how they treat their peasants. 

And of course, it's love that heals them. 

Ultimately, that's why these stories worked for me.  They are wallpaper historicals with story holes you can drive a Mack truck through, with massive inconsistancies within each book and between the two books.   And yet they still worked for me, because Deveraux took me by the hand and walked me through a story about strength, love, growth and family. And--Happily Ever After.

Thursday, December 10

CALZONES AND DESSERT PIZZA aka still not reading

We've been on a calzone kick at our house.  Cheese filled pizza dough at it's creamy best.  I usually make three, one for the hubby, the child and I split one and the other goes in the hubby's lunch box the next day.  This always leaves some dough left over.  Sometimes I make zeppolis, sometimes I make a small pizza.  Last night I attempted my first dessert pizza--butter, cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts--yum :)

**Edited to include recipes (kind of recipes anyway :) **:

2 lbs of pizza dough (frozen, fresh or homemade)
I usually use frozen
1 lb of ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 TBLS parmesan cheese
1 cup of your favorite Marinara Sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Separate the dough into approximately 4 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a 10" or 12" circle. On half of each circle layer 1/3 of the ricotta, 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella and 1 TBLS of parmesan. Fold over dough to make half moon shaped calzones, seal the dough by pinching or rolling over the edge. Place calzones on a parchment covered cookie sheet, brush on some olive oil, poke a couple of vent holes in the top of each and bake for about 20-25 minutes until calzones are brown, serve with Marinara sauce on the side.

I don't add any extra salt or pepper, we like the flavor of the cheeses and it's salty enough from the parmesan. sometimes we put sliced meatballs or sausage as the bottom layer and mixing spinach with the ricotta sounds good too

DESSERT PIZZA (this is an eyeball recipe--the amounts depend on how thick you like your dough):

Shape the leftover ball of dough into a pizza, whatever thickness you like. Spread butter like you would sauce, not as thick as you would sauce, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, next is a layer of chocolate chips then a layer of walnuts.  Use as much or as little as you like of the cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake at 400 until dough is brown, again use parchment paper or a silpat on your cookie sheet (makes clean up easier).
Can you tell I'm not reading?   Each day I post something to keep the blogging thing going, but even I know it's rather inane.  Rosario did a DNF Round-up yesterday. I decided against this since any new book I've tried has been a DNF and I realize it's probably not the books. I'm out of my reading groove.

Have a great day and happy reading.

Wednesday, December 9

Strange Weather Day

It snowed last night.  Not a surprise if you watch the news--it seems to be snowing over 2/3 of the country.  We had 8 inches last night.  This morning it turned to freezing rain and now it's only rain.  So of course, the snow was unbelievably heavy, like shoveling wet cement, especially what the plow left 2 feet deep at the end of the driveway.  And, of course, the plow came after my husband left for work, leaving the blessed job of clean-up for me.  Thank goodness the hubby did the rest of the shoveling, so I only had to do the end of the driveway.

Now we're having a thunderstorm.  And it was hailing on the other side of the county.

Tuesday, December 8

Old School at its best or worst?

Yesterday when I was pulling out Linda Howard's Mr. Perfect I found my original Doubleday Bookclub copy of Jude Deveraux's The Taming, something I have not read in years and years. Originally printed in 1989 it's a mini hardcover with 216 pages.

I pulled this quote from JD's Simon and Schuster webpage:
England's most valiant knights paid court to wealthy Liana Neville, but only the infamous warrior Rogan Peregrine made no secret of his powerful desires. His very caress melted Liana into liquid fire, and she vowed to capture this magnificent, wild man. Boldly the delicate beauty gave him her hand -- and Britain's richest dower. Yet he was bound to a bitter feud: for love betrayed, brothers killed, and ancestral land usurped. In Rogan's war-ravaged castle, Liana would lay her tender redeem his embattled spirit and win his untamed heart!
From the original book jacket:
No knight in England could resist the lure of her vast furtune, but Lady Liana Neville desired a man who coveted more than money. Determined to test the power of her beauty upon a man who has no knowledge o her wealth and position, Liana disguises herself as a peasant girl and entices a fierce, handsome stranger. How could she know that the warm, rough kisses of a low-born rogue could so deeply arouse her own passion? or that the peasant who had insulted and excited her is none other than Rogan Peregrine--an arrogant knight who has come to demand Liana's hand in marriage!

Despite her family's warning of a violent blood feud that has left Rogan penniless, Liana is unable to deny the fire between them. Can her love heal the scars of his cruel past? Or will his bitter obsession become a dangerous game of revenge that destroys them both?
The only thing I remember about this book, is that Rogan is a clueless bully and yet I also remember thoroughly enjoying it.

Maybe it needs a reread. I'm wondering if it's Old School romance at its best or worst :)

Have a great night and happy reading.
I reread Linda Howard's Mr. Perfect cover to cover last night.  It's still good :)

Monday, December 7

The Weekend...

I'll start the post by saying I'm not reading anything new.  I've been picking up favorites and reading bits and pieces.  Nothing's been read start to finish in probably a week.  And believe me it's not because the TBR pile is empty.

But I had a lovely weekend despite my lack of reading interest.
  • Saturday was our school's annual Tricky Tray event, which I describe as an upscale penny social.  My sister and I go every year and enjoy spending time together, even if we don't win anything.  She was quite happy with the wine basket she won (it featured her favorite Merlot).  

  • It snowed all day Saturday and into Saturday night, we woke up to a winter wonderland Sunday morning.  I love late fall and early spring snow, it sticks to trees and creates a beautiful snowy world.
  • We bought our Christmas tree on Sunday.  Right now it's leaning against the side of the house, we wont actually move it into the house until next weekend.  We like our trees to last until Little Christmas in January.
I still have decorating to finish and boxes to put away.  It'll all get done this week and hopefully my reading mojo will come back this week too.

Have a great day and happy reading.

Saturday, December 5

Not Ready

How did December creep up so quickly? 

I'm not ready, not even remotely ready for Christmas.  The cards are done, but not mailed.  The shopping is started but not finished.  The inside outside decorating is partially done, but again not finished.  I haven't even thought about the baking and candy making. 

Christmas is twenty days away.  How do I know this?  It's announced daily by the child.

I love this picture.  He was 4 and taking taekwondo and they had a great Christmas party.

Wednesday, December 2

too much... not enough...

I had little bit of time to myself this afternoon, between doing laundry and washing dishes, before heading to work in our CCD office later.  Not enough time to start decorating for Christmas, but just enough to do some lurking on-line... 
  • Why do so many romance readers and writers look for the approval of the non-romance readers of the world? 
  • Do we have an inferiority complex that makes us feel the need to justify what we choose to read and explain why?
  • Why do we hyper-analyze what we read?
  • When did simply reading for pleasure go out of style?
  • Why do some people stir up trouble where there isn't any?
Just curious.

Now I have to wash dishes.  Have a great day and happy reading.
I have two new favorite websites:

  • Confessions of a Pioneer Woman  I could spend hours just looking at the pictures and discovering her archives.  And honestly, what I've read so far sounds like a really good romance novel :)
  • Whipped Out  I love Angie's and Jane's new website/blog.  I've been toying with posting similar things here, recipes and craft ideas.
Have a great day, and happy reading.

Tuesday, December 1

I'm completely enjoying the Sony Reader post on Dear Author
  • “To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.” – Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn --I think I need this book.
  • The set-up: Daphne, the heroine, needs help to find her missing brother in Egypt. The consul general is anxious to get rid of a certain problem aristocrat who cannot seem to stay out of trouble. So the consul recommends Rupert Carsington, aka Mr. Impossible, to Daphne. The following exchange takes place in a filthy jail where Rupert is currently cooling his heels after a dustup on the streets of Cairo.
    “Mr. Beechey,” she said, her voice not as steady as she could wish, “are you sure this is the man I want?”
    An impossibly deep voice, most definitely not Mr. Beechey’s, answered with a laugh. “That would depend, madam, on what what it is you want me for. ”

    I love this book!--me too :)
  • “It was loaded,” he said coolly. Georgette Heyer, DEVIL’S CUB--I just reread this book, don't you love an understatement.
  • I will find you,” he whispered in my ear. “I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without you—then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes. For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest.”

    His voice dropped, nearly to a whisper, and his arms tightened around me.“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”

    –From Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon--maybe I need to pick this series up again, I made it to book 5.
  • “Lady Madelyne had sealed her own fate. She’d warmed his feet.”  The quote is from Honor’s Spendor by Julie Garwood. One of my favorite Garwood books.--this has to be one of my all time favorite romances.
And the list goes on and on.

EATING, SHOPPING, READING and another list

The title says it all!  Our weekend consisted of eating, shopping and reading, in that order :)
  • We went to my sister's for Thanksgiving, which meant I had to cook another Thanksgiving dinner on Friday.  The hubby doesn't like my sister's cooking--he prefers mine.  After 25+ years of marriage this isn't a shock.  That he's getting more vocal about it is a tad surprising.  He did like the gravy at my sister's (I made it, but the stock she made was great, which of course makes great gravy.)
  • Junior announced at Sunday dinner he was turkeyed out--nothing but turkey, turkey soup, sandwiches and Thanksgiving left overs since Thursday.  He did ask for the last of the turkey soup for lunch yesterday, so maybe he wasn't completely turkeyed out :)
  • Our local weekly paper has a "school section" and they occasionally visit schools and ask questions like "What are you thankful for?"  Junior's answer:  "All the American soldiers fighting for our freedom and pie.  My mom makes good banana cream pie."  Why the pie comment?  "Because I wanted you to have your name in the paper too."  Apparantly "My mom" qualifies as having my name in the paper too :)  I made a banana cream pie on Sunday.
  • No, we didn't shop on black Friday, but we were out bright and early on Saturday.  Toys r us was picked clean, but I managed to find some Christmas presents for our nieces and nephews.  Next up Kohls--they always have great sales.  Then it was on to Barnes & Nobles,  they were hositng a fundraiser for our school and of course it wasn't difficult to spend money there.
  • Our son is a geek.  Please note I've whispered this, because I believe my husband holds out hope that Junior will still be a great athlete, the child loves baseball, soccer and wants to play football next year, and Junior thinks "geek" is bad.  While we were in Toys r us he had a $25 gift card to spend--he chose books--LOVE THAT :)
  • Sunday was family day.  It started out (after Mass) as reading day, each of us with our noses in books for a large chunk of the day.   And then it became rocket day.  My husbands is reliving some of his youth, as a child he loved shooting off rockets with his brother.  He has passed on this love to our child and they had a blast (literally and figuratively), while mommy DSed in the car.
That was our holiday weekend--it was wonderful.  Have a great day, and happy reading :)