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A Photo-Happy Good Health Celebration (and some Weekly Geekery)

June 14, 2008

(Note: throughout the post, click on pictures to make them bigger) Yay! I’m finally over my flare-up! I know I’m not the only blogger with some chronic health issues, so I’m sure y’all will understand when I say it’s good to feel like a human again. Yesterday was the first day I’ve been able to read or drive or pretty much do anything other than sleep over half the day and function on autopilot the rest in about a week. So why didn’t I post yesterday? Well it was my mom’s birthday, so I was busy making these:
my mom\'s birthday cake of choice!Key Lime Yumminess

I'm pretty proud of this for a first attemptYep, that would be a lemon meringue pie with a key lime to keep it company. Oh, and while I didn’t get a bunch done in the past week, I did manage to crochet a little. I’ve been meaning to buy string bags as an alternative to plastic grocery bags for awhile (I like how they’re compact), but I suddenly remembered that since I can crochet, I could just make my own! I took a vintage pattern I found on the internet and modified it a bit, and I’m pretty proud of the results. I did make the handles too long (I wanted to be able to wear it across my body), but a knot solves that. And I’m definitely going to add a pocket for my wallet. But if anyone wants my pattern, just let me know. :D (I just grabbed some random food out of the pantry and fridge to demonstrate how big it gets; I could’ve stuffed more in there, but I got bored, lol)

At this time, I’d like to offer a brief meme interlude from the onslaught of photos. Debi tagged me for a Summer Goals Meme, so I’m going to go with her and use the official definition of summer: June 21st-September 22nd. Here are my goals:
1. Learn to sew. I received a sewing machine for Christmas a couple years back, but never got around to doing much with it. I’m excited by the idea of making my own clothes, and my own reusable produce bags (to go with my new reusable string bags!).
2. Keep up with my reading challenges. If possible, get ahead in preparation for the blitz of grad school! Enough said with this one. :)
3. Not use bookmooch (and continue to not buy books). I have enough books as it is, the library has a ton of books, and I can always request ARCsif I get desperate!
4. Tag all of my books on Shelfari, so I can play around with new ways to organise my physical bookshelves without having to lug the books around over and over.
5. Make a successful move to Monterey and a good first impression at grad school! This one has me the most nervous, but I’m sure I’ll handle it somehow.

Now back to pictures. :) Since I felt so good yesterday, before I settled down to some serious pie baking, I went to the library! I had a ton of holds, but a lot of them were for the read-a-thon, so that picture’s going to go in my ‘advised books’ post later today (yes! the mythical list will finally be published!). Together with some review copies and a gift, here are my other book acquisitions for the week:
I love book piles!First, in place of honor, Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman. I won this from Nymeth, and I couldn’t be more excited about it!
Then, from the bottom up. Sewing: Techniques and Patterns (remember how I mentioned that one of my big goals for the summer is to learn how to sew?), Thames: a Biography by Peter Ackroyd (a review ARC from the Nan A. Talese imprint of Random House with a self-explanatory title), Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I added this one to my Orbis Terrarum list, and I’ve been impatiently on the holds list for almost three weeks! So excited about it!), Vegetarian Express Lane Cookbook(it’s always fun to look at new cookbooks, and Tara mentioned she was looking for fast vegetarian recipes, which inspired me to check my library’s catalog), The Book of Flying by Keith Miller (Chris told me I’d like it, so of course I had to get it immediately. It has such a neat cover!), The X in Sex by David Bainbridge (Despite what might have popped into your mind, this is a science book about the X chromosome; since I made an alphabetised review directory, I’ve decided to informally do the A-Z challenge, so I was delighted to find an ‘X’ title on a topic that really interests me!), Zel by Donna Jo Napoli (Not only is this a fairy tale retelling that’s garnered rave reviews throughout the blogosphere, it also begins with a ‘Z’. I wish I wasn’t so superficial, lol), The Implacable Order of Things by Jose Luis Peixoto (another Nan A. Talese ARC, this is a novel set in a poor fishing village by a Portuguese author. Not only am I excited to read a book set in Portugal written by a Portuguese-Nymeth, is that the right noun?-but this one hints at magical realism, which I always love), When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale (yet another Nan A. Talese ARC, it’s written from the point-of-view of nine-year-old Lawrence who is the ‘man of the house.’ His mother decides her estranged husband is stalking them, so she, Lawrence, and his little sister move to Rome.), Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo (the final Nan A. Talese ARC, it’s a coming-of-age story set in Beijing. As a side note, this imprint has some of the most consistently gorgeous covers ever! When I review the books, I’ll have to include big images of them), and finally Book Lust by Nancy Pearl (because I need more book lists, right? No, seriously, I’ve heard so much about this book, but I’ve never found a copy in B&N to just browse through, so I grabbed it from the library instead.)

And finally, since Weekly Geeks this week was to take photos of something book related, I thought I’d offer pictures of my favourite tea mugs and favourite teas. I drink a lot of tea, especially while I’m reading!

My favourite tea mugsI tend to like really huge tea mugs; my very favourite is the one in the middle (which I was obviously using this morning). It’s a hand-made mug I found in one of the little boutiques downtown, with a cool scene of a bear fishing on it. You can see a better picture in this post. Then there’s the mug my mom bought me from B&N that says “Shh…I’m reading’ all over it: very appropriate and makes me laugh! Next to that is a ‘Koala Crossing’ mug my dad brought back for me from his first trip to Australia (he’s in the Air Force, and gets to visit a ton of cool places): you can’t tell because of how I angled the shot, but is’ only half the size of the other mugs. Good for when I’m running late, so I don’t have the time to drink a gallon of tea, lol. On the other side, my newest mug says “Good Morning” on it; it’s also huge, and I bought it at World Market (love that store) just a couple weeks ago. And finally, although you can’t really tell, the last one is another huge mug from Starbucks Qatar that my dad also brought back from his travels.

My favourite tea varietiesFor morning tea, I tend to go for Twinings. I love their variety pack, but my very favourite is Ceylong, which I’m currently out of. Then there’s the Apricot tea, which is the only fruit tea I drink regularly, but I Love it. So soothing! And my trusty McCormick mint flakes that lets me make any tea have a minty flavour; usually, I just mix it with normal Lipton’s. It’s especially great as an iced tea. The rest of the teas I bought in Russia: the green box is Jasmine tea. This is the best Jasmine tea I’ve ever had, and it was only about a dollar a box, so I came home with three boxes of it! The two jars (aren’t they neat looking? sorry about the blurriness) are my favourite flower-y teas. The purple one is called “Aladdin’s Lamp,” and it’s a black tea mixed with various flowers. The green one is called “Night Flower,” and it’s a green tea. Finally, on top of the twinings is another baclkfloral one called “1,001 Nights.” I couldn’t find the tin version in the market, so I bought three of these packets to bring home. Russians are much more serious about their teas that Americans; it’s one of the things I miss a lot. Not pictured, but I really want to buy some Cherry Blossom green tea soon! I’ve had a couple of different companies’ versions, and both were just wonderful. Also, it’s a green tea that works with milk added (my favourite way to drink it), which is unusual.

Can you tell I’m finally feeling healthier? Well, I’m off to read a bit (it is SO good to be able to read again!). But I’ll be back later today with the really long read-a-thon book list. Promise.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2008 9:32 am

    Thanks for sharing your mug and tea collection! I too am a tea (and mug) lover, so pictures like these always make me drool a little. Have you tried loose tea? My favorite supplier is Upton Tea (online) – you can get samples of any tea for about $1! (I don’t work for them or anything… I just love them!)

  2. June 14, 2008 10:46 am

    Fun post :) I’m a big tea fan too. I like PG Tips which you can always find at World Market…in fact, that’s about the only place I can ever find it. I do like Twinings too and I love Bigelow’s Constant Comment! And of course, just like you, I have some favorite mugs.

    Glad to see that you found The Book of Flying! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I’d like to read it again some time if I didn’t have so many other damn books sitting here to be read, lol. I love how you’re looking for X and Z titles now…I need to start doing that, I still haven’t thought of any…

    And those pies look delicious!! Happy birthday to your mom! And glad to hear that your starting to feel a bit better…hope you keep getting better and better :)

  3. June 14, 2008 12:30 pm

    Oh Eva, I’m soooo glad you’re feeling better! I was really getting worried about you!

    Hope your mom had a fabulous birthday! Sure looks like she had some fabulous pies!

    And I love the bag you crocheted!!! I keep telling myself I’m going to crochet myself some of those too, but never get around to it. I like the canvas kind for most things, but the string kind for produce and stuff. My canvas ones have definitely seen better days, so Annie and I are going to make some new ones when I teach her to sew for “practical arts” next school year.

    Have fun getting caught back up on your reading! And keep feeling better, okay?

  4. June 14, 2008 1:08 pm

    Eva – I am glad you are feeling better! The pies looked awesome! I LOVE the mugs – I like to drink hot chocolate with flavored cream in it when I read so I love the big mugs. :) I too have been gathering my holds from the library to read for the read-a-thon. I have several YA so I can feel like they are going fast – especially since I have found that I am a slow reader compared to some others!! LOL! I have one comment about graduate school – I let people intimidate me the first week or so – I completely stressed myself out. So my advice would be – graduate school is very similar to getting your undergraduate degree it just tends to be more reading and A LOT more writing! Don’t let people intimidate you – you are just as smart as they are! :)

  5. June 14, 2008 1:34 pm

    Great pics!!! I’m almost literally drooling over the key lime and lemon pies. LOVE THEM!!! And your grocery bag is great! So cute and so personal. Love that.

  6. June 14, 2008 1:41 pm

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, Eva! That lemon meringue pie looks soooo delicious.

    lol, I think that’s the right noun, yes. About José Luís Peixoto – he gave a talk at my university a couple of years ago, and he seemed like such a nice and approachable guy.

    A friend of mine (who is a huge fan of his and had helped organize the whole thing), when hearing that I had never read any of his books, promptly and enthusiastically lent me his favourite and urged me to read it. It was his first novel, written after (and about) the death of his father, and, well, it took me weeks to work up the courage to tell my friend I hadn’t enjoyed it at all. And I really really wanted to like it. Everyone had told me it was a really moving and emotional book, but it was written in a sort of abstract poetic prose style that unfortunately didn’t make me feel anything other than annoyance.

    But that’s just me, and plus it was his first book. I’m sure he has gotten a lot better since then. You’ve made me curious with your comment about magic realism – I had no idea he had written anything in that vein. I hope you enjoy his book. And Zel, and of course, Odd, which I bet you’ll love.

    I look forward to your read-a-thon list!

  7. June 14, 2008 5:19 pm

    I had to giggle about your key lime pie; I wrote something a few weeks ago and forgot that I’d meant to post it. It centers around a key lime pie (don’t ask. Just … don’t… ask.)

    I hear you about having too many books. Me, too. I should be working on that right now, but it’s fun to surf and meet new people…

  8. June 14, 2008 5:36 pm

    Sarah G, I love loose tea; all of the Russian teas are loose. :) Thanks for the website rec-I’ll go check it out!

    Chris, yay for more tea lovers: I’ll be on the lookout for both of those next time I’m at WM. I don’t know why, but looking at my review directories and seeing unrepresented letters annoys me, lol.

    Debi, aww-thanks. Another crocheter! Yay! I like string vs. canvas because they get really small so I can stuff them in my purse. :) You and Annie do the coolest things for school!!

    Darcie, thanks! And I’m glad to meet another big mug collector. :D Thanks for the advice about grad school; I’ll keep it in mind.

    Andi, wish I could send you a slice! :D

    Nymeth, thanks! Interesting about Peixoto: reminds me of my experience w/ Amado. I’m planning on reading Odd this weekend!

    Susan, of course now I want to know what’s up with you and key lime pie! And the internet is a big distraction against books!

  9. June 18, 2008 6:16 pm

    I think I see some Twinings Lady Grey there? That is my favorite, drink it every morning. And loved seeing your mug collection. I alternate between 2 mugs from the chicago art institute myself. so glad you’re feeling better.

  10. June 20, 2008 9:09 am

    Tara, you do! It’s one of my favourites too, though I rotate it with some others. I wish I could buy it in bulk like the Early Grey! And don’t you love the blue colour of the packets?

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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