Saturday, February 28, 2009

Update on relationship quiz

I now hold the bigger brain in Big Brain Academy.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Review: Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I avoided this series, despite enjoying Bryan Lee O'Malley's first book Lost at Sea. Scott Pilgrim is a weird romp through the relationships of early adulthood, with some hardcore geekery in the form of video game and manga references. The first time Scott Pilgrim fought and got a powerup, ala Mario, it took me a second, but the engaging characters and the almost too-familiar relationship action had me back before I could really put it down.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I overheard a mom at Babies in the Library talking about how she's still skeptical about vaccines, even though she's vaccinating her kid. She said something about vaccines being stronger these days, about kids getting side effects, but she'd feel horrible if her kid came down with the measles or something worse.
Babble has a piece about how the anti-vaccine crap started and how it's all a big lie. An easy to believe lie, since it's easy to believe drug companies are evil. You know, since they often are.
I hope that parents smarten up and start vaccinating their kids again. I know that my co-worker with the autistic son blames his vaccinations. I think her son, nice kid that he is, just drew the short straw. And it sucks, but there's no point in telling other people their kid is autistic because of the protection from real dangers like measles, mumps and rubella.
It makes me so mad.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Review: Bones to Ashes

Bones to Ashes Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm leaning more towards a 3.5 stars. At any rate, I liked this one more than some of the other Kathy Reichs books I've read. To be honest, I think I like Bones better than I like the Temperance Brennan books.

This book hit closer to home than some of the others, and, as usual, Reichs makes some annoying geography booboos. It takes until much later to acknowledge that Miramichi, NB used to be two separate, smaller cities, Newcastle and Chatham. The only reference to Chatham is a one-off, without really explaining where it is.

The story was interesting, and, as usual, the plot, not the writing, carries the story. I'm getting quite sick of Brennan and Ryan having a non-romance. I am glad, however, that Reichs refers to it as Lafleur's in this book, instead of Lafleur as she did in the other books. She does throw off the Schwartz's full name, but whatever - it's nice to have a bit of the Montreal language dichotomy in there for colour.

View all my reviews.

Friday, February 20, 2009

That relationship quiz

What are your middle names?

Mine's Dawn, his is Donald.

How long have you been together?

Since July 2001 - 7 and a half years.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?

A couple of weeks? We met July 8, had our first date ten days later.

Who asked whom out?

He definitely asked me. And he had to ask more than once because the first time he asked, a few days after we first met, he kind of scared me since he showed up at the B&B where I was living for the summer and I hadn't told him I lived there. My boss told him where I lived.

How old are each of you?

I'm 28. He's 38.

Whose siblings do you see the most?

Surprisingly, right now, mine. My brother lives in Regina, but comes home relatively often. His brother lives in Montreal and we don't always see them when we visit Quebec. We used to see his brother much more often - almost once a month.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?

Family relationships.

Did you go to the same school?

No. We went to school in different provinces, in very different systems.

Are you from the same hometown?

Not even close. He's from a small city in Quebec; I'm from a small city in New Brunswick.

Who is smarter?

I don't know. I'm better with numbers and with remembering how things work. My memory, in general, is better. We both write well. He teaches kids, which is not something I'm great at. I think we're pretty evenly matched in many ways. He is, however, holder of the bigger brain in Big Brain Academy.

Who is the most sensitive?

He is. I'm kind of... well... immune to many things that hurt the sensitive.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Opera Bistro, I guess. Though we often eat out at the Sampan, the nearest (and best) Chinese restaurant.

Where is the furthest you've traveled as a couple?

Las Vegas, which is where we were married.

Who has the craziest exes?

He does.

Who has the worst temper?

A lot of people would say me, but I blow my top in a spectacular manner only when I'm really, really pissed. Bill blows his top on a smaller scale over stuff that isn't worth the string of swear words, which means he blows his top several times a week.

Who does the cooking?

We both do.

Who is the neat-freak?

He is. Clutter bothers me, to a point, but he gets weirded out by a little bit of detrius on the floor and starts on about how Social Services is going to close us down (see above, re: temper).

Who is more stubborn?

I am. Hands down.

Who hogs the bed?

He does, but he'll never admit it. He also hogs the duvet, which makes me insane, but he won't acknowledge that he's the one who yanked it diagonnally, even though it's hanging off the side of the bed near his head.

Who wakes up earlier?

He does. But he has to go to work right now. And he likes to make it sound like I sleep in and lie about in bed, but I get up at 7:30 almost every morning.

Where was your first date?

At Pizzicato in Sherbrooke. He learned I was lactose-intolerant that night.

Who is more jealous?

He is. I don't stress about that stuff.

How long did it take you to get serious?

Not long. We did the long distance thing from September to May, that first year, then I moved in with him. He asked me to marry him around about our first anniversary.

Who eats more?

He does. But really, I can put him under the table easily when it comes to certain foods.

Who does the laundry?

We both do, due to a division of labour after I freaked when he shrunk a brand new sweater beyond recognition. He tried to lay the blame on me leaving it on the laundry basket with other clothes. I said that if he can't read the labels on clothes, it's his own problem. Hence, he does his own laundry and I do mine. We split the kids, but I tend to do the baby's more.

Who's better with the computer?

I am. But I grew up in a house full of computer geeks and learned print production at school.

Who drives when you are together?

He does, usually, though we split on trips. And I have been known to yell at him for telling me he's too tired/dizzy/not feeling it after he's already behind the wheel.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Creating arrows for God

Babble has a really interesting article on the Quiverfull movement.

That's a broad enough standard to allow for various interpretations, including mainstream beliefs that children should help out in the family and not expect to always have their way. In the Quiverfull movement, which graduates new believers from accepting many children to a deeper study of movement literature about women's submission to the headship of the fathers and husbands, it often becomes a lifestyle of rigid hierarchy and duty. Many women who have left the movement say that the experience of Quiverfull daughters is to learn early that their role is limited to the domestic and that their highest calling is in becoming mothers and wives. It can be a life of crushing toil, as former Quiverfull believer Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff explains. "The Quiverfull movement holds up as examples men like the Duggars . . . all men of means. But for every family like this, there are ten or fifty or one hundred Quiverfull families living in what most would consider to be poverty.... Mothers are in a constant cycle, often, of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the care of toddlers."

I didn't like the idea of this before. This article leaves me aching for little girls raised this way. My own great-grandparents had 14, though they had only 3 girls. All three, Mabel (who was fourth oldest), Bernice (#6) and Grace (#14), were expected to help. My great-grandparents kept all three girls out of school as much as possible, and all three girls ran off and got married at 16 to escape, and each had at least five kids of her own.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Valentine's Day Dinner at Opera Bistro

My husband and I went to dinner at Opera Bistro. I'll admit, it's a favourite anyway, but the five course fixed menu for February 14 was excellent.
We started with Goat Cheese Brioche, which were subtlely cheesy and had Bill swooning right away. This arrived with our drinks - Banrock Station Sparkling Shiraz. I am now in love with sparkling red wine. It was a little sweet, pleasingly bubbly and light enough not to be a problem with the romantic salad: mixed greens with avocado and bamboo shoots with a lobster rice vinaigrette.
Next was the Cognac Carrot Cream Soup, which was velvety and light. It tasted mostly of cream and cognac, with a nice bit of sweetness from the carrot.
Then the salmon pate arrived - salmon layered with rice, vegetables and herbs (what anything was, I could not say), baked in puff pastry and served with a saffron cream. Delicious. I could have just eaten that for dinner. But then I would have missed the main course.
Bill had the filet mignon, which came in a shitake mushroom sauce on sour cream whipped potatoes. Bill had his medium, and it was tender and smoky. As usual, I won the draw on picking the better dinner. I had the sausage stuffed chicken roulade, which was presented in a pomegranate balsamic sauce with a polenta heart. The sausage, likely one of their homemade lamb ones (they were so busy that I couldn't ask), was spicy, and nicely balanced by the chicken and the sauce, which was sweet-tart. The polenta heart was a nice touch - I love polenta anyway, and this was crisp outside and creamy inside, the perfect textural compliment to the chicken and sausage. The chicken came with just one bone still attached. I'm not sure what bone, though, since my chicken was definitely a breast and the bone was a good sized one. I almost thought she'd brought me a lamb chop by accident (and there was lamb on the menu, a rack with black cherry and black pepper - I saw one on the next table and it looked delicious). I was expecting a roulade - you know, the typical rolled chicken. This was better.
Desert was a white chocolate mousse heart on a lake of dark chocolate sauce. Opera is my favourite place to eat desert anyway (a raspberry tart I had three years ago still makes me drool), and this didn't disappoint - the presentation alone was fabulous. The airy mousse was topped with a thin layer of red strawberry gelatin. Hidden in the desert were a few fresh berries - raspberries and blueberries.
Surprisingly, after all of this, I didn't feel like exploding. It was perfect!

Monday, February 9, 2009

RIP Blossom Dearie

I am beyond sad I will never get to see her sing live, even at 82.

Review: Gods Behaving Badly

Gods Behaving Badly: A Novel Gods Behaving Badly: A Novel by Marie Phillips

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I kept hearing about this book on CBC and everyone loved it. That is because it is awesome. The Olympians are all perfectly developed and the mortal characters are sweet and you just want to kiss poor Neil by the end of it. It's David Sedaris meets Queen Camilla. Awesome.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chocolate chip cookies

I've made "the perfect chocolate chip cookie" - from the New York Times. I've also made these chocolate chip cookies from Martha Stewart.

There is a pretty big difference. For one thing, the New York Times cookies come out heftier. They taste richer (I think it's the refridgeration). There's the added dimension of salt.

My next batch of the Martha Stewart cookies, which are just simpler to make, I'm going to try two things - first, I'm going to try hold off baking for at least 36 hours. Then, I'm going to sprinkle them with sea salt. Taste test, ho.

Review: Superior Saturday

Superior Saturday (The Keys To The Kingdom, Book 6) Superior Saturday by Garth Nix

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I cannot wait for Lord Sunday. I like how far along this book carries the story, but it really felt like nothing actually happened - no conclusion. A true build up for the coming ending. Maybe. Maybe there's a book 8 in the works. I wouldn't complain - it feels like Garth Nix has a lot to say about the Architect, more than might be reasonable to handle in the seventh book of The Keys to the Kingdom.

View all my reviews.