For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Library list, and a revamp of the blog

I decided it was time to mess around with the blog layout. While I liked the old layout, I didn't like how small the text area was, so I switched to a template that lets the text area fit to your window. I think it makes it easier to read that way.

For today's library trip, the girls and I tried to watch some of the dvd's we hadn't got around to before they had to be returned. F for Fake turned out to be very... confusing. Big Ideas turned out to be a series of interviews - interesting stuff, but it did drag on, and we didn't have time to watch it. We never did get around to the Architecture one. Ah, well.

Today, we managed an accomplishment - we actually came back with *less* than we returned! *L* Granted, it was partly because we returned more than was due, including all the cd's. We must've had close to 20 of them in total.

Youngest renewed one of her books, Giants and Ogres, so she didn't try to find anything else.

Eldest kept her choices low, too. Today she picked:

Headwraps: photographs, illustrations and cultural information about the different types of headwraps people wear around the world.
The Nineteenth Century; A visual History of Costume: a series of photos, illustrations, paintings, etc., with brief write ups, featuring clothing worn throughout the 1800's.
The Guinness Guide to 20th Century Fashion: a look at more recent clothing trends, with more information than the previous book, organized by decade.

I managed to keep my list a bit shorter today - mostly by avoiding certain sections of the library completely. *L*
The Second Brother Cadfael Omnibus, featuring Saint Peter's Fair, (that ones a favourite of Youngest's) and The Leper of St. Giles, and The Virgin in the Ice.
Eating with the Victorians: This one traces how our meals evolved to today's current structure and times. The layout of the title on the cover has led to some humorous moments, though. The first and last words are in large text, while the middle two are much smaller. As I was using the self-check out, I saw the title as "Eating Victorians." Youngest saw it as "Eating the Victims." LOL
The Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book: There's just something I love about old cookbooks. This one was originally published in 1966. Many of the recipes have a brief description of its background, making the book a fascinating glimpse of life in the time period.
Sacred Food: This book explores the relationships food plays in the special occasions of various cultures, from birth to funerals, and everything in between, including select recipes of dishes that would be traditionally served during these times.
The Breath of a Wok; Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore: Starting with how woks are made, and the different styles used by different cultures, to a wide variety of recipes from those cultures. Beautifully put together.

We picked up a new batch of dvd's again - I wonder if we'll get a chance to watch all of them this time. *L*

The Nature of Earth: An Introduction to Geology - This is part of a series called The Great Courses; Teaching that engages the mind, from The Teaching Company, in their science and mathematics category. Our branch as a great many of these on a wide range of subjects, and my curiosity finally got to me. I didn't notice until we got home, though, that it's part 2 of 3. Oops. It's a 2 dvd set with a course guidebook, featuring 12 specific areas.
The Global Generation Series: Episode 2, The Global Marketplace; The Benefits of Globalization. I believe there's 6 episodes to this series, with episode 1 not being there, so I grabbed the next one. We'll see if it's worth checking out the rest.
Creation of Evolution? I just couldn't resist. I'm hoping it's at least respectful. Usually, it's one side or the other trying to trash their opposite.
Rumpole of the Bailey, Seasons 3&4, set 2, featuring Rumpole and the Old, Old Story, Rumpole and the Blind Tasting and Rumpole and the Official Secret. You know, I like tv a lot better when it's on dvd. *L*
Dan Aykroyd Unplugged on UFOs. Another one I couldn't resist when I saw the title. Didn't he have a tv series on mysteries or something?

And finally, this week's cd's. I think I ended up getting all instrumentals this time.

Suspended Memories; Earth Island
Surround Sounds 2
Furia Flamenca from Tierra Negra
Eternal Champion from David Arkenstone
Pumping Irony (Songs of the 90's) from Nancy White - I did get something other than instrumentals. A bit of light hearted comedy is always a good thing. :-D
Magic Gipsy from Eric Fernandez

That's it for this week! :-D

Friday, February 22, 2008

A double library list

Since I neglected to post last week's list before now, I'll just do both today - though we've already returned stuff from last week.

First, the list from last week.

Heat: How to stop the planet from burning. I didn't finish it the last time I borrowed it. I've had it for a week and still haven't cracked it open. I'm writing a review as I read it, but I'm not looking forward to it. :-P
Thai Classics: yes, we're still experimenting with Thai cooking - and enjoying every bit of it! Much more fun, now that we have a wok-style frying pan. :-D
Complete Mushroom Book; the Quiet hunt. This is a combination field guide and cook book - very gourmet and an enjoyable read.
Mushrooms are Marvelous. This is a cookbook from the late James Barber, and a lot more useful for everyday cooking! No hunting of esoteric and exotic ingredients here.
Complete Price Guide to Watches 2007. I grabbed this one for Eldest. She had no interest in the price guide at all, but it does have illustrations of the mechanisms inside, and that she most definitely *is* interested in. ;-D
Brother Cadfael 1st compendium. This book has A Morbid Taste of Bones, One Corpse Too Many and Monks Hood. I also picked up the VHS for One Corpse Too Many, so that we could see what changes from the book they made for the series. Eldest has really started to enjoy the books now, too. Ellis Peters had a wonderful style of writing.
The Bastard's Tale. Part of the Dame Frevisse series. I didn't really like it. My favorite part of the book was the bit at the end, where the author describes her research on the various real-life characters and incidents. It's a good series - I just don't care about the kind and the politics surrounding him.
People of the Nightland. Another book I didn't really enjoy. Set when the last ice age was ending, culminating with the breaking of the ice jam that lead to draining a colossal glacial lake off what is now the US and Canada. Lots of rape, war, murder and mayhem, with a bunch of mysticism thrown in for good measure. I couldn't help but feel the authors were projecting their own concepts onto an ancient people. It showed up in the little details, such as in what various characters considered attractive in the opposite sex, and in the relationships characters had with each other. There was a distinctively modern North American slant to it.

I don't remember the names of the other stuff we'd returned, so on to the new additions. Youngest didn't take out any more books, as she's still got a couple at home. Eldest chose:

European Architecture 1750-1890
Umbrellas & Parasols (The Costume Accessories Series)
Hats: A history of fashion in headwear and
Men's Fashion: The Complete Sourcebook.

I didn't want to take out too many books, as I still had several to work on, but I did grab a few.

Cool It: The skeptical environmentalist's guide to global warming. I was on the waiting list for this one for quite some time. Another reason to finish off Heat as quickly as possible.
Extreme Weather: A guide and record book. I couldn't resist this one. Like the book, El Nino, that I'd written about in my last library list, this book was written in response to claims by global warming alarmists that we will have more extreme weather events due to increased global temperatures, examining historical and modern data to see if these claims are warranted. It looks like it'll be a very interesting read - and it has some amazing photos, too!
A World of Dumplings: Filled dumplings, pockets, and little pies from around the globe. This book makes me hungry every time I look at it! I look forward to trying some of the recipes.
Prairie Home Cooking: 400 recipes that celebrate the bountiful harvests, creative cooks and comforting foods of the American Heartland. Wow. What is it with really long sub-titles?? *L* Lots of extra little historical tid-bits thrown in among the recipes.

That's it for books. On dvd, we picked:
Rumpole of the Bailey, seasons three and four, set two.
Big Ideas: A new history of the world
Legacy: The origins of civilizations Disc 3 - Central America: the Burden of Time and The Barbarian West
Architectures 1: The Bauhaus, The Faculty of Architecture in Oporto, Family Lodging in Guise, Nemausus 1, The Georges Pompidou Centre, The POst Office Savings Bank in Vienna
F for Fake

And finally, cd's:
De Dannan - Hibernian Rhapsody
Voices Across the Canyon Vol. 3: A Canyon Records Collection of Native American Music
Carnival du Quebec: Que la fete continue!
Rivers and Rails (various artists)
Quango World Groove: A celebration of dance music featuring Rachid Tara, Yotho Vendi, Jan Wobble and more...
The Rough Guide to the Music of Canada
Alligator Stomp Vol. 1 Cajun & Zydeco Classics
Reggae Gold 2007: Treasure of the Caribbean
Tiesto - Elements of Life

We've actually already finished listening to all the music cd's. Well, skimming through some of them. Didn't like Rivers and Rails, skipped a lot of Quango World Groove, and found I already knew the songs on Alligator Stomp from another cd I'd borrowed in the past. Carnival du Quebec has some good tunes, and I really liked Rough Guide. The throat singers are always amazing to hear. Reggae Gold wasn't what I expected - more like rap than the reggae I'm familiar with. I still liked it. Leahy is always incredible to listen to. Elements of Life is trance music, which I liked as well. Voices Across the Canyon was hit and miss, which is to be expected with so many different styles of music.

Phew! Done! *L*


Friday, February 08, 2008

Finally... a proper library list again. :-D

Nice to get a proper library trip in this week. I think I was going through withdrawal. ;-)

We returned most of what we took out last week. I think it was the smallest check out/return we've had since we moved out there. *L* We did keep a couple Dilberts and a Garfield, though.

Eldest tells me she had to mightily resist taking out certain books - mostly because they were about 6 inches thick, and she'd already accumulated a substantial stack. Substantial as much in weight as number, that is. *L* This week she chose:

More Than Human; Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement
Wonders of the Past; Ancient Inventions
Ships and Seamanship In the Ancient World
Victorian Inventions
McMinn's Color Atlas of Human Anatomy
She also found the 6 dvd set, Secrets of Archaeology

Yes, my daughter has eclectic interests. A bit like her mother that way. ;-)

Youngest picked three more books from the Time-Life Enchanted World series, Giants and Ogres, Wizards and Witches and The Book of Beginnings. I think some of these are repeats that she didn't get to finish previously.

I tried to keep my own list on the short side, as I tend to grab much more than I have time to read.

Under My Skin: this is a rather different book on tattoos, in that it's about individuals that are heavily tattooed, not about the tattoos themselves.
Chinese Feasts and Festivals; A Cookbook
Chinese Foods: no recipes here, but a cultural history of Chinese food and cooking. One of my personal interests is history, not as names and dates, but in how people lived. Over the years, I've found one of the best ways to learn about a people and their culture is to learn about what they ate. Geography, climate, politics, levels of wealth, technology, status and so on... it's amazing how many things influence our food and culture!
Thai Cooking
El Nino; Fact and Fiction
Climates Through Geologic Time
dvd - Savage Planet - Extremes and Volcanic Killers
Yes, after a bit of a break, I'm back into researching global climate. It's a fascinating subject, but very information intense. It's good to give myself a brain break every now and then. :-D Just for fun, though, I also grabbed 2 Brother Cadfael dvd's, One Corpse Too Many and The Leper of St. Giles.

In cd's, I had another Loreena McKennitt disc on hold, The Mummers' Dance, plus I found The Planets by Classical Graffiti in the instrumental section.

*happy sigh* I think we're good for another week. :-D

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Gung Hey Fat Choi!

Happy Chinese New Year. :-)

Here's a really easy Chinese recipe from Foolproof Chinese Cooking, by Ken Hom.

Cantonese egg flour soup
serves: 4
prep. time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes

1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp sesame oil
9 cups Classic Chinese chicken stock or good quality ready-made stock
1 tsp sugar
1tsp salt
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
3 Tbsp finely shredded scallions, white part only
3 Tbsp finely shredded green scallion tops, to garnish

Put the egg and sesame oil in a small jub or bowl, mix with a fork and set aside.
Put the stock into a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sugar, salt, and soy sauce and stir to mix them in well. Stir in the white part of the scallions.
Next add the egg mixture in a very slow, thin stream.
Using chopsticks or a fork, pull the egg slowly into strands. I find that stirring the egg in a figure of eight works quite well. Garnish with the green scallion tops.

For more recipes, here's a few places to start.
All-recipes Chinese New Year (we make a version of the tea leaf eggs regularly for our Easter basket.) Chinese Food - top 10 recipes Chinese New Year recipes
The Holiday Spot Recipes for Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year recipes

For the crafty sort, here's a few links to visit for ideas.

Enchanted Learning Crafts and Activities for Chinese New Year.
Kaboose Chinese New Year crafts.
DLTK Chinese New Year and General Chinese Crafts
Activity Village Chinese New Year
Apple 4 the Teacher Chinese New Year crafts

Chinese New Year resources.
Kaboose Chinese New Year. (more general info)
Knowledge Hound Chinese New Year/Spring Festival


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'm BAAAaaaacckk... ;-)

It's been a long time since I've posted. We're heading out after lunch, so I figured I'd take a moment to post now.

I haven't been posting our library lists lately - mostly because we've been sort of skipping them. On the 25th, we were doing some cooking for a potluck Robbie Burns supper, so I only took the time to run out and drop off pretty much everything we had. This past week, I decided we'd go to a different library for a change. Now that we've got a car again, that's actually practical. That and I didn't feel like paying $6 to park downtown for a couple of hours. ;-)

I'd had high hopes for this branch. I'd been told that it was a new one, and quite good. It was a lot smaller than I expected. With a lot less books, too. They did have a wonderful large lounge area, complete with fireplace and rocking chairs as well as couches and armchairs. There was a play area in the children's section and another small lounge in the youth section. Throw in the work area for the staff at the entrance, and there wasn't much room left for bookshelves.

The sections seemed completely mixed up, too. With only a handful of books in many sections, it wasn't unusual to find 3 or 4 sections in a single area. The dvd's and vhs were mixed in with the books, too. They did have a decent cookbook and craft area, and their fiction was pretty full. Youngest was happy to find the comic digest section. We ended up taking out 4 Dilberts and 4 Garfield compilations. There were a few useful finds. I grabbed Stage Costumes, with instructions on how to make period costumes that will come in handy for the next Medieval Day. I want to make a costume for myself, now that the girls have their cotehardies.

Among the other books we grabbed, I included Foolproof Chinese Cooking. With Chinese New Year coming up, I want to try some Chinese cooking. Eldest has been craving stir fries lately, too - making them, not just eating them. They've been successful enough that I'm thinking we need to invest in a wok. :-D

Well, time to drag the kids out of the apartment for a bit. ;-D