Planning What to Cook For Dinner

While hubby watches “Ivanhoe” (the version with Elizabeth Taylor), self is planning tonight’s dinner (which she can do simultaneously while blogging: dear blog readers know that self is no stranger to multi-tasking!) Let’s see, this morning, before self and hubby went on various errands — first, to Menlo Park to pick up a peach pie from Ann’s Coffee Shop on Santa Cruz Ave. (this pie is heavenly and such a steal: only $16 for a whole pie!) and, next, to Town & Country shopping center in Palo Alto to check out a new coffee shop/bakery called Mayfair — self had the uncharacteristic foresight to defrost some “Beef Top Loin Sirloin Steak” (Self is so confused: isn’t beef either top loin or sirloin? What is “top loin sirloin”? Anyhoo, self’s just quoting from the Safeway label) and now has decided (just a minute ago, actually) to make “Mussaman Beef Curry,” from a Thai cookbook she bought, the last time she was in Bangkok with Ying. No, self is not going to let herself dwell on that wonderful trip with her sister-in-law, or her composure will go flying out the window. Yesterday, she e-mailed Dear Bro that she was going to dedicate The Lost Language (forthcoming book, with Anvil) to Ying, and he was so touched. That is, he didn’t actually say he was touched, first there was silence, but finally this morning he “cc’d” self on an e-mail to a friend, telling the friend that he’d learned self was dedicating her book to Ying. So, it must have touched him.

Anyhoo, back to food! Recipe says to use coconut cream (Self hopes she can substitute canned coconut milk), 5 cardamom seeds “dry-roasted until fragrant” (uh, what? Self will have to make do with Spice Islands cardamom powder), 1 cinnamon stick (Self never knew that curry could have cinnamon as an ingredient, but she’s willing to try anything once!), 2 medium-sized potatoes, and a heap of unsalted, chopped peanuts. There’s also an item for “chopped palm sugar” (whatever that is). Self feels like running off to Whole Foods, for unsalted chopped peanuts sounds like such a goood snack! Especially as hubby is preparing to watch a hockey play-off game at 5 p.m. But self’s stomach is extremely heavy at the moment, after two servings of pie from Ann’s Coffee Shop, which she had with Trader Joe’s Vanilla ice cream.

Self feels she deserved all these little indulgences today (on the way home, hubby even bought self a new clematis, from Redwood City Nursery!), for she planted no less than three cell packs of dianthus and Dusty Miller this morning! Before noon! And she got all in a sweat! And has scratches running up and down both arms (because she planted these little squirts under her rose bushes) to prove it!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Today, Friday, the 17th of April

Today, six Sumatra Lily bulbs came in the mail. Also, two rejections: one from Algonquin books (self sent them 30 pages, perhaps six months ago), another from a small literary journal that self’s been subscribing to since the very first issue (but for now will remain nameless).

Today was warm enough so that self finally got to sit outside for part of the afternoon. When the shadows deepened, a wind sprang up, and self got nervous and started collecting all the pillows she’d strewn around the garden (to sit on, she’s been migrating from one end of the garden to the other, depending on the angle of the light). She left out the Chinese lanterns.

Dinner was Italian sausage, cut into chunks, and fried with onions and some scrambled egg (Self knows, that sounds like breakfast, but anyhoo). Then, she made a salad of baby spinach, croutons, shaved Gruyere cheese, and a few slices of crumbled bacon. That makes her sound like a gourmet, but self assures dear blog reader, that salad was pure serendipity: hubby bought Gruyere last weekend and forgot about it, which allowed self to shave it over the salad. Then, she bought this humongous bag of baby Spinach from Safeway, because it was on sale. And she always has bacon and croutons. Plus, she just bought Cilantro dressing from Trader Joe’s. Voila! Super-yummy and filling salad!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Looking Back: Books Read, Jan. – Apr. 2009

Self thought it would be fun to review the list of books she has read so far this year (Self seemingly in a very meditative mood lately, dear blog readers!)

Let’s see, here are the novels self read that she particularly liked:
The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank (by Ellen Feldman); Skinny Dip (by Carl Hiaasen); Bangkok 8 (by John Burdett — this one self really liked, for the way it re-invented the cop procedural); The Summer He Didn’t Die (by Jim Harrison — a revelation)

Apologies to Ha Jin, self tried to get through War Trash, but just couldn’t.

And here are the non-fiction books self particularly liked:
The Man Who Would Be King (by Ben MacIntyre, one of self’s favorite writers); Finding George Orwell in Burma (by Emma Larkin — self just loved the lyrical tone of this book); Sky Burial: an Epic Love Story of Tibet (as told to Xinran — it got better the farther into it self got, and the ending was suffused with melancholy, a condition which self always enjoys, especially in the warmer months!); and, of course, The Knife Man (by Wendy Moore)

Just realized that self hasn’t read any short story collections yet this year, what’s up with that? Must correct this situation, soon!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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