Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Audio Challenge Update

This year I decided to join the 2015 Audio-book Challenge, which is hosted by The Book Nympho and Hot Listens.
In the past couple of years, I have come to LOVE audio.
It's so easy and nice and, well, awesome, to listen to great read while you do the dishes!

Here are the levels we could sign up for:
  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5 
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30-50
  • Marathoner (Look Ma no hands) 50+

I went out on a limb and took the  Stenographer level.
I thought it might be hard, but  I thought I could I do it.

Could I?  That's a lot to listen to. 

Well considering today is March 24th and I'm listening to my 9th audio book as we speak, I think I can!
I should really bump myself up to Socially Awkward.

Right now I'm listening to Storm Front by Jim Butcher, narrated by James Marsters.

It's the first in the Harry Dresden series.
I've read it in print form, but it was on sale on Audible.com last night, so I figured, why not give it a listen?
James Marsters does a good Harry Dresden voice, and he has narrated the first 10 of the series.
I can't wait to listen to them all.
I have a slight crush on Harry Dreseden.
(this happens to me once in a while,--- crushes on characters, you?)
 The Dresden Files was adapted to television in 2007 by the Sci-Fi Channel, and was canceled after one season.

These are the audio book I've read so far this year:
The Martian by Andy Weir
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
Delicious by  Ruth Reichl
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Should I bump up to Socially Awkward?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pet Sematary

from Goodreads:
The Creeds have just moved to a new house in the countryside. Their house is perfect, except for two things: the semi trailers that roar past on the narrow road, and the mysterious cemetery in the woods behind the house. The Creed's neighbors are reluctant to talk about the cemetery, and for good reason too.

from Me:
 3 stars.
It was a great, creepy Stephen King book,  the problem for me was, that I  had listened for years to everyone saying how it was his creepiest.
All that talk took some of the creepiness out.
It's still pretty creepy and if you like SK, then don't read this one while you are waiting for a pedicure, or in the dentist's office.
Be home, at night, alone, in a chair, no TV, no radio, no interruptions. Then it will be perfect.
Stephen King is the master of foreboding! 
And I love his descriptions and his character development.

I have to share this photo with you --

For some reason a few months ago (last summer) I started taking a picture of  my morning coffee cup along side the book I am currently reading, and posting it on Instagram.
This morning the  cat jumped up on the table, so I just snapped it.
Ironic, don't you think?  
Pet cat, Pet Sematary?

I was also reading Pet Sematary as part of a read-a-long

Some of the other's in the read-along-have already posted and after reading
Care's post,  I have questions too!

She asked these questions (among others) (and there might be a spoiler here):

WHAT the heck happened to the family who lived in the house before the Creeds????????!?!??!??!?!
Why the heck did kids maintain the path to the Pet Sematary – the FAKE one? who cares, WHY.  WHY!?!?!?!
WHO did not protest any kids on their property maintaining said path?  WHA?
What was wrong with these people of Ludlow that they would humor kids to bury their pets on someone else’s property?

These things are a puzzle to me too!!
Especially why anyone would let those kids on their property!!?

I've been wanting to read this one  (and Salem's Lot)  (And Christene) for a long time, (hint hint Somewhere in a Book or whoever schedules SK read-alongs)
So, Thanks for pushing me along!

My favorite SK Book?
The Stand.

The Martian

from Goodreads:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

from Me:
What a fun read!
And now I kinda have a crush on Mark Watney!
It was just a fun read.
I can't wait for the movie.
4 stars from me!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cooking Club


We finally started The Cooking Club!
You might think it just looks like a normal dinner party, 
It is not.

It's our Cooking Club.

I tried to get everyone's attention to take a photo....
April's eyes are closed (sorry April), and I caught Debbie mid-bite (sorry Debbie) but at least every one is looking my way.
Everyone but the Handyman, that is.
(He's busy buttering his bread or something.  He must eat, has no time for photos)


 I picked my best cooking friends and we had a great time!

Gina and Sally

 Debbie and April

There is no picture of me.  Maybe next time.

This is what we did --- 
we drew names for a dish.
for example:   appetizer, salad, side, main dish and dessert.
And then we decided on a theme.
Tonight's theme was: cooking like mama used to do.
You had to make a dish that your mother used to make.  
Then you had to come talk about it and 'justify' it if need be.

We had so much fun talking about the dishes our mom's used to make.  Even the guys got into it, they started telling stories of  mom's cooking and food memories when they were growing up. 

Gina brought her mom's old recipe box.
It was fun to see the old typed ones?  It seems we all have some that were typed on note-cards. As well as all those hastily written on the backs of envelopes and stuff.
And you notice the 'old momish' type of appetizers?  Stuffed celery and olives and gherkins? 
Those were from Debbie E. she even served them in her mother's old serving dishes.

 I should have taken a photo of everyone's dish, but I didn't.
(what was I thinking???)
But our menu for our Mom's Cooking Theme was:
Stuffed celery/olives/pickles-- Debbie E
Mini Meatloves -- me
Vegetable Salad-- Gina
Scalloped potatoes-- Sally
Cream Cheese Brownies -- April

Just like our mom's used to make!!
Oh...and I put the type of bread on the table like my mom use to:
white bread slices on a plate!
(Sally's husband Paul was very excited about that! )

At the end of the evening, we drew from a hat  (Okay it was a basket-- that basket on the table there) and our theme for next time is
Cajun Cooking!
And I just happened to have a cookbook I got out for everyone to look thru.

 (see that book shelf in the background --- those are all cookbooks.  I have a problem)

I can't wait till next time!!
We talked food, and our moms and books and birds and food!

I am going to link up with Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads!
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Food 'n Flix -- the Quiet Man

Food 'n Flix is a group of bloggers who get together every month to watch a movie, and then head into the kitchen and mix up something inspired by the flick. 
There is always room for another pillow in front of the tellie, and another chair around the table. So if you're a blogger who wants to join in the fun, please feel free to jump in at any moment.
February's Flick is chosen by Joanne from What's on the List and she has chosen The Quiet Man.
 The Quiet Man, released in the US in August of 1952, directed and produced by John Ford, is “an American romantic classic” starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Barry Fitzgerald.

 I chose to make some "Irish Roasted Salmon" for the occasion.  Why you ask?

 Where did I get my inspiration?
Well from the first scene of the movie, of course.
They say the fishing is fine, and the trout and salmon are running.

Of course, the Handyman, who watched the movie with me, could not keep up with my inspiration.  He would say I don't see them cooking anything,   I don't see how you get lamb from  that ( there are sheep on those hills.  I can get inspired by that! )
He was not  very good at food inspiration during the movie.
Anyway, I decided on some Irish Roasted Salmon for my Food 'n Flix dish this month. 

For the record -- it was a good marinade.  I'd try it again.  There was a slightly sweet, slightly Irish whiskey taste to it --- but not over powering.

Irish Roasted Salmon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 14 cup cider vinegar
  • 14 cup Irish whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 
  • 1 12 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
 Mix together honey, vinegar, whiskey, thyme, lemon zest, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salmon and marinate 1 hour on the counter, or 4 hours refrigerated.
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Remove salmon from marinade and place on a rack over a roasting pan.
  3. Grill or Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, basting once with the marinade or until golden and white juices are just beginning to appear.

Now, on to the movie.

I have a horrible secret.

I don't like John Wayne.

Go ahead ... call me unAmerican.  Call me a fascist.  Call me unpatriotic.
My dad did.
I am none of those things of course, but it was an on-going  'tease' between my dad and I.  He loved John Wayne and I did not.
Having said that, I still think he is an icon, and American pop-cultural movie hero.
And that by itself makes me like him just a little. I just have to play the game, save face, say I don't like him.

This movie is one of Joanne's (the host of this month's Food 'n Flix) all time favorites.  It is close to her heart, because she watched it every St. Patrick's day with her dad.  
It means the world to her, so,  without further ado...., I will have to say John Wayne was good in this movie!  I did really like his character in this one.

I love old movies, and I am  1/8 Irish, and I love Maureen O'Hara.
The scenery was beautiful and I wanted to live in that cottage of theirs.

It's funny how times have changed tho --
all that 'rough man' stuff and John Wayne's character dragging her thru the country side? 
It bugged me a little, even tho I know, it was just a sign of the times.

And  (this might be a spoiler)
At first I thought

that she was a spoiled brat and wanted her 'stuff and her dowry' more than her marriage, but about 3/4 of the way thru the movie,  the story line revealed how important  Irish traditions were in a community and what that entailed and it seemed to tie it altogether.

There was an epic fight-- a wild rumpus-- at the end.

I'm glad I finally got to watch The Quiet Man.  Thanks Joanne.
It'll always be near and dear to my heart too, because it is the one movie where I actually like John Wayne!  (just kidding)

PS  isn't she beautiful?

PS --  my dad passed away last April, but the movie that will always be near and dear to my heart, in regards to him?
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
While watching the movie together he mentioned that I was always welcome to bring home anybody I wanted.
He meant in regards to me dating when I was older and I always knew that my dad was open and inviting and welcoming to all people... that is near and dear to MY heart!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Blogger Hop

Today I am going to join in with the Friday "Book Blogger Hop" hosted by

This week's question was submitted by Elizabeth from Silver's Reviews and it is:
Do you read more on a rainy day or on a gorgeous day so you can be outside? 
My answer is:
Well, I read every single day, BUT my 'perfect', 'in my dreams' day of reading would be this:
house all clean/no chores to do
no errands to do
no work to go to
warm homemade chocolate chip cookies  baking (but just about done so I don't have keep getting up from my book reading every 10 minutes)
A little walk during a short break in the rain,
then more thunder storms as I return home, to eat cookies and read, read read!
That's my dream!
I live here:
 (okay, that's not my actual house, but you get the drift-- I live in the high desert of Nevada)
It's not going to happen.
Our rain storms are--- 20 minutes long.
I wonder if it rains in heaven? 
I hope so.
I hope heaven is
no chores to do
no errands to do
warm cookies already made
and green places to walk. Mountains to hike.
(sorry, I can't just answer the question.  I have to meander a bit) 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This and That

The Handyman and I are having a discussion.  You know the kind I'm talking about....   he is being ornery and I am not.

I came across a blog, Jenni Elyse and she has a weekly meme called  

I thought it would be fun to join in.
This week she asks, who are your favorite composers (mine is Marvin Hamlisch, which shows my age.  I loved the movies "The Sting" and "The Way We Were" circa 1970-something)
So I asked the Handyman who his favorite composer(s) were.
He said  Lennon and McCartney.
They did write music after all.
Butttt....when I looked it up, it said 
 The term "composer" is often used to refer to composers of instrumental music, such as those found in classical, jazz or other forms of art and traditional music.
In popular and folk music, the composer is usually called a songwriter, since the music generally takes the form of a song.

When I explained it to him, he said "soooo, songwriters actually do MORE THAN composers?"

And he had a tone. 
2 years ago when Marvin Hamlisch died, the Handyman didn't even know who he was.
I found that----
---- weird.
After 36.75 years of marriage.  I still find things about him --- weird. And amazing.  And fascinating.  And other mushy stuff, but weird?  It's right there on top.
But that's what keeps us together.
It's not love, like the Captain and Tennille sang about (they were not composers, but rather, singers and keyboard players for the Beach Boys, altho, the Captain was  the son of a famous composer, Carmen Dragon)

Where was I?  Oh...love does help keep us together, but it's the finding fun interesting facts after all these years that keeps us on our toes! 

I meandered way, way off topic. 

I do like John Williams too!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cookbook Wednesdays and Friday Friend Recipe #47: Doug's Margarita

hosted by Louise
I love having  someone to keep me on track-- using every cookbook I own.
I love this blog!  Louise has such interesting posts.
Today she is featuring bananas.  She actually has banana cookbooks!  I am envious.

Today (since, I am ashamed to say,  I didn't make anything from a cookbook of mine), I'm just going to talk my 'homemade' cookbook:
 the Friday Friends Cookbook!

I know that I talk a lot about my Friday Friends and the Friday Friends Cookbook.  In fact, nowadays I  only post things from...
... as far as food posts go anyway.
I figure it's not so much about the food anymore, but about the friends!

I'm going to explain more about my Friday Friends and the Cookbook in a minute,

 but first, let me give you recipe #47 from it....

(I always put this at the beginning of a FF Cookbook post.  I figure it explains a little bit. AND/BUT if you've been following along--all 3 of you---you know this info already)

Friday Friend Recipe #47:  Doug's Margarita

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

What is the Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county).  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #47

Doug's Margarita

This was actually the best margarita I've had in,  years!  Maybe ever.  It was really good.
I remember having it once at Barb and Doug's house and I thought it was good, but didn't think too much about it.  I thought it was a fad or something trendy to do.
When the Handyman remade these for me a couple of weeks ago for the blog post, I thought WOW!  This is great!  And I wanted to drink them all up!
Who knew that 4 simple ingredients could make this so good!
And-- there is no lime to be seen!  Except of course for the one I put on the edge of the glass.

Doug's Margarita
Barbara Brown
Buckeye, AZ

1 small can frozen lemonade
1 small can tequila (use lemonade can)
1/3 small can triple sec
1 can beer
blend and drink

This is where I'm supposed to have a picture of Barb and tell a story about her, but you already know her!  She's the editor of the FF Cookbook.  See all her recipes here.
(I begged for recipes from the Friday Friends, sent them to her and she typed them all up and published the first ones!)

I wrote this in a blog post in August of 2008:
Barb is a great cook, so I've got quite a few of her recipes. In fact, Barb was the editor of the Friday Friend cookbook-- Don't get your hopes up, there are only two copies in the whole world....in Barb's kitchen and mine. I asked for recipes from these Friday Friends far and wide, they sent, I forwarded, Barb copied and pasted and printed, a cook book.

When I first started the Friday Friend forum, I used to ask all kinds of questions from all my friends far and near, compile, cut, paste, resend.
It became so much fun!!
We talked about many things from kids to bras to parades to world events, but we always, ALWAYS talked about food from the very beginning...
... and-- little did they know,  that I kept copies of all our answers and discussion and have them in notebooks. 
Over 15 years of FF ramblings!
(I thought it might have some social anthropological importance someday! )
 ~insert insane laughter~

I pulled out this note-book from the fall of  2004,  apparently I was requesting recipes at that time for the FF Cookbook.
In the 5th sentence you can see that "Barbara" Brown is halfway done with the cookbook:

Then just for fun,  other random food things we were discussing during that time:

And you KNOW these people!!!  I have posted recipes from them!
you can click on their names to see their recipes.

And there is Shelly!
And April will make her Cookbook debut soon, as will  Adria!
And Mitzi is mentioned!
I just love my friends!!

A note from my son Mark found it's way into the Friday Friend Forum during that time too!

and because it was a forum, and I compiled and posted and pasted and answered, here is what a few FF's said:
(it's just a teaser---because you can't see the complete answers)

And here is the true answer:

I know that my blog has an interesting name.  A name/title that no one gets, because there are no 'friends' writing posts every week. There is only me. 

Long before I knew what a blog was, I had a group e-mail forum that included my friends from near and far...and originally I would ask them a question on Fridays, cut and paste their answers and  share with all.

So there is the history of my name.  Well, not MY name, (that would be 1950's Debbie Reynolds popularity) but rather my blog's name.  It started as a joke, when I thought that only they would be reading this blog.  Now, over 800 posts later, a few other people do read my blog.
It's nice to have made other friends thru this.  But too late to change my name (my blog's name ) to something catchy like " Debbie's Dishes"  or  "Dining with Debbie" or even "Debbie is a hot dish".   Okay, we can leave the last one out, but you know what I mean....you are stuck with the Friday Friends.

I have about 50 of my closest friends on the e-mail forum.  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.
AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.

I was looking at the cookbook the other night and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog."
The Handyman--who knows me better than I know myself (this happened to be a question on the Friday Friend forum once---does your spouse/partner know you better than you know yourself?)--said,  "you'll never, EVER do that."

I'm out to prove him wrong!

So....  my Cookbook Wednesday post is this!
A rambling about how the Friday Friends Cookbook got it's start!?

And since I used Barb's recipe this time around...
here is a photo of Barbara Brown!
Publisher of the Friday Friend Cookbook!

Don't laugh --  I took pictures of pictures (on my cell phone) because my scanner is broken.
so, picture quality is not so good.
I think it makes the photos look 'vintage'.

These are from a family wedding.
When my sister and brother in law got married.
It was a backyard, tropical theme.
I'll write about it sometime, but for now, here is Barb in her tropical shirt.

Facts about Barbara  Brown:
She is a helper kinda gal.
Here she is helping with dishes  (I don't know the other people who are helping, they are helper kinda people too) in the middle. 

Barb is an old JCPenney manager.
As is the Handyman (on the left)
and Tom.

Barb is a Friday Friend!
As is my niece Melissa
and Leah
Not sure why Barb is showing off her muscle????

And the Friday Friend Cookbook!
She/We need a better cover page.
(Yes, that is a Taste of Home recipe sticking out--- I stuck it in there to try)

I told you---Barb put in LOTS of recipes!
(she did the typing for heaven's sake!)

If you are interested in all of the Friday Friend Cookbook recipes
Have a good day!