Tag Archives: books

Wordless Wednesday: Books and Records

via Apartment Therapy: Philip & Leona’s Wide Open Loft

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Meatless Mondays: Lentil Sloppy Joes

A couple Mondays ago, my mom told me she was tired of eating meat all the time. She wanted us to branch out from the usual rotation of recipes and takeout while also meeting my brother’s and my dietary needs (my brother and I are both living at home right now). I was elated. I love meat, but I love “rabbit food” just a little bit more. So we have instituted Meatless Mondays in our home and I am determined to see it through as long as I live here.

One thing that has made this transition easy so far (I know, it’s just one meal a week, but my parents are born-and-bred-meat-and-potatoes people) is that I help out with the cooking a lot as is. Now the extra authority is mine for the taking. Another thing that’s helped is that it’s summer, and to say my parents have green thumbs is an understatement (my dad’s a nurseryman, my mom is a natural gardener and a California native plant enthusiast). They grow tomatoes every summer along with a rotation of other fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes are my life force in the summer: I love tomato sandwiches for any meal (toast bread, spread mayo, add tomato, sprinkle with salt and pepper). And the tomatoes from our backyard are just large and gnarly enough so that one slice can cover a whole slice of bread.

But man cannot not rely on tomato sandwiches alone. So last week some friends pointed me to numerous vegan/veggie blogs and recipes. For my first official Meatless Monday meal, I made lentil sloppy joes from Post Punk Kitchen:

They were great! The next day after I came home from my internship, I microwaved the leftovers with some rice from Sunday night and it tasted even better.

Tonight, I’m making Golden Lentil Soup (with green lentils left over from sloppy joe ingredients) from Zov’s cookbook (Zov is one of our hometown celebrities here in Tustin). I’ve made this soup many times before, but never in a Crock Pot. Crossing my fingers that it goes well.

Last weekend:

Reeling from a phone call inviting me for a job interview!! + Talking about books with friends on shady patios + Pliny the Elder on tap at TBC + Veggie nachos + Malbec + Pretty sunsets + Coffee on rainy mornings + Finishing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban + Experimenting with quinoa

Bad to Good

This weekend started off pretty terribly. I was in a funk on Thursday and couldn’t get myself out. On Friday, things seemed to be improving only slightly. But after eating some Jalapenos potato tacos with a friend and shrimp louis salad with my grandma (I did a lot of eating this weekend), my world was right-side-up again.

It also helped that these guys came in the mail:

On Saturday morning I drove down to Corona Del Mar for a bonfire. I got there at 10 only to find that all of the firepits were taken. So I read my Bill Bryson book for an hour while I waited for Ryan to show up and also to see if a pit would miraculously open up for us. Nothing. We gave up, drove back to Tustin, and went to Tustin Brewing Co. before meeting with more friends for a BBQ to take place of the bonfire. I dined on sausageless Italian sausage from Trader Joe’s and tried many beers that we all got at Total Wine before the BBQ:

After all of that excitement, I needed to relax on Sunday. Instead, I went to the gym in the morning, cleaned my bathroom, and helped my mom pick out a new pair of glasses. THEN I relaxed: read lots of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, watched the sunset from my porch, and listened to music. Super perfect Sunday evening.

Improvising

Today didn’t go exactly as planned. Let’s examine, 500 Days of Summer style.

Another photo from Saturday since today was uneventful. My friend Young would make such a good blogger. He took photos of everything he ate. I did not.

Expectation: Arrive at work early. Sit at desk, plug in earbuds, watch Lynda.com tutorials for the software I’m learning for my internship. Get inspired. Write.

Reality: Arrive at work early. Notice other interns have nabbed all computers available. Employees stare at me, probably wondering what I’m doing standing in the hallway. Engineer leads me to an empty cubicle. Decide to leave and work from home/somewhere with free wifi.

Expectation: Arrive at home and get super productive!

Reality: Let’s just say that I am surprised I ever got my degree through a distance education program by working from home. Next time, library.

Expectation: Go to dentist appointment at 4 PM. Come home, traumatized, nauseous, zone out in front of a screen of some type.

Reality: Go to dentist. Get along super well with hygienist. Come home, put on gym clothes. Go to gym. Come back home, sign up for Lynda.com, write this blog post.

Things I loved today:

+ my outfit + finishing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets + getting a compliment on my nail color + taking a nap + a grilled ham and cheese sandwich + sunshine + Buddy Holly – “Rave On” + feeling productive RIGHT NOW. See ya!

Thoughts on Reading

two books next to a plate of sushi and two glasses of wine

I find myself particularly intrigued by younger people who have heard their cohort called “The Dumbest Generation,” who are continually told that their addiction to multiple simultaneous stimuli renders them incapable of the seriously focused and singleminded attention that the reading of big thick books requires. Some of them are defiant in response to such charges, but most at least half-believe them. Told over and over again that they can’t read, they begin to wonder why they should even try.

– Excerpt from Alan Jacobs’ The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

I once heard someone make the comment that we spend most of our lives  staring at glowing rectangles.

I have a list of books that I want to have read. Sometimes I want to have read a book so badly that it sucks the joy out of the actual process of reading. I cram. Then, when someone wants to talk about the book, I can’t remember a thing about it. I can’t even tell them what I liked or disliked about it.

As a child I read voraciously. Now I find it difficult to sit still in silence and JUST read. There are occasions when I am overcome with the desire to sit and read, and it usually happens during the most inopportune times. When I’m shelving books in the fiction section of the library, for example, all of a sudden my legs start to give the moment I find an interesting book and I have to fight not to sit down in the middle of the aisle, propped against a book cart. It helps to think about how disgusting public library carpets are. But I wish those moments would happen when I’m in my room, staring at my own bookshelves.

3. My Antonia by Willa Cather

I wish there was more of Antonia in this book, but I had to keep reminding myself that this was supposed to be written from the narrator’s (Jim Burden) memory. So it kind of made up for Antonia’s character being somewhat flat.  I did really enjoy Jim and Antonia’s friendship. Jim is a stand up guy! My favorite character was Lena Lingard, the town hussy who grew up to be a totally awesome and successful dressmaker but still lived by her own rules. Sorry, Antonia.

My favorite part of the book was the story of why Peter and Pavel, two minor characters, came to the United States. I won’t give it away, but it was pretty horrifying to read even compared to the other dark moments in the book. It was captivating.

Finally, I still can’t say ANtonia. I believe it was Jim who equated it to saying “Anthony,” but the extra syllable at the end of Antonia trips me up every time.

2. Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just Kids is the story of Patti Smith and the late Robert Mapplethorpe.  The one she promised him she would tell. It’s beautifully poetic and unapologetic.  They have this seemingly impossible connection, devoid of greed or jealousy over each others’ artistic pursuits and full of loving support.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I must go to bed!