(Sweltering) Sunday Afternoon: Planning Dinner & The Return of The NYTBR

Be careful what you wish for. Just a week ago, self was complaining how cold it was in the Bay Area. The weather made her groggy and tired and self wanted to sleep all the time.

In contrast, yesterday and today were hot. This afternoon, self wheedled hubby into watching “Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day,” showing downtown.

The streets felt empty. The two restaurants across the street from the Redwood City Main Library on Middlefield Road — A Tavola and Milagros — were shuttered and silent. Self used to love seeing the customers chatting at tables on the sidewalks, but A Tavola hasn’t been open for almost a year now — a sign says the restaurant is closed for re-modeling, but no work has been done. She hopes it hasn’t shut down.

There was a little more life in the theatre lobby. Self couldn’t help thinking: Is this what a recession feels like? Silent streets, and everyone moving sluggishly? Hubby declared the movie “sappy” (though self thought Lee Pace was dee-lightful!) He said he wished he’d spent the afternoon watching Tiger on TV.

Now, self is home. Ah, what to do, what to do? She watered, a few buckets. She continued digging a hole for the passiflora vine she’d bought from the Mountain View Farmers Market before going to Tel Aviv. The vine is so long now that its stems flop all over the place. But the ground is so hard and gravelly that self gives up after just a few minutes.

Self should probably plan dinner. In Cooking Thai Food in American Kitchens, Book 2, there’s a recipe for “Delicious Hamberger” (spelled exactly that way). Self thinks she can manage this: the photo shows a white serving plate, hamburger patties (in some kind of brown sauce) arranged around a centerpiece of pearl onions, cherry tomatoes, and chopped green beans.

Perhaps that’s too simple. Here’s another dish: on a round serving platter, an arrangement of brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli. The caption identifies the dish as “Asparagus, Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts in Oyster Sauce.” Self doesn’t have the asparagus or the broccoli, but she does have brussels sprouts. And, how silly, this morning self was in Costco and she forgot to get soy sauce. Also, hubby complains about the rice she bought a few days ago from Marina Mart, which is some fancy Japanese rice that he says is too sticky. But since self bought a 25-lb. bag, it will be several weeks yet before self can think of getting a different kind. She’ll just have to put up with hubby’s grumbling.

In the meantime, self has begun reading The New York Times Book Review again. Amazing that it’s been almost a month since she read the last one. This morning, she reads the March 9 issue. And here once again, dear blog readers, is the list of books self is interested in reading after perusing it:

(1) After reading Walter Kirn’s (in self’s opinion, somewhat digressive) review of Richard Price’s new novel, Lush Life:

Richard Price’s new novel, Lush Life

(2) After reading Thomas Mallon’s review of Joshua Kendall’s The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget’s Thesaurus:

Joshua Kendall’s The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget’s Thesaurus

(3) After reading Scott McLemee’s review of Eric Alterman’s Why We’re Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America:

Eric Alterman’s Why We’re Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America

(4) After reading David Rieff’s review of Michael Scheuer’s new book, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq:

Michael Scheuer’s earlier book, Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror

(5) After reading Lorraine Adams’ review of Jenny Siler’s — aka Alex Carr’s — new spy novel, The Prince of Bagram Prison:

Jenny Siler/ Alex Carr’s first Stella Rimington spy novel, 2004’s At Risk

(6) After reading David Berreby’s review of Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions:

Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

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