Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Morning Staff Meeting

Good Morning everyone. Welcome to the Monday Morning Staff Meeting where we deal with unfinished business, little bits of interesting news and eat.

It's probably no surprise that this morning we will be feasting on Halloween candy.

The Farmer would not listen to me and bought three extra bags of candy. I thin he's just counting on the leftovers. The homes in our area are on a minimum of 2 acres, which makes trick-or-treating a daunting task. The kids usually go to other places where the homes are closer together. Those neighbor kids who do trick-or-treat here are hauled around by their fathers in carts or flatbed wagons pulled by a lawn tractor or farm tractor. Bottom line is that we get very, very few trick-or-treaters.

Please help us by eating a few of these candy bars. Save a few Almond Joy for the Farmer. They're his favorite.

How was your Halloween?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Everybody seems to be publishing books and cookbooks. The Pioneer Woman is doing a signing tour. Did I mention that Clara has a cookbook?


Several of you have mentioned how disappointed you were with the book, Julie and Julia. I did not read the book but heard that it was peppered with four-letter words. The movie does not. I can't remember one cuss word. Perhaps the producers and writers realized that it would fly on the screen. Cussing on that level is a really bad habit and makes you look very crude. Someone once told me that the excessive use of foul language means that the person has a limited vocabulary.

Books written by bloggers is a fairly new phenomenon. Publishers (and bloggers) are cashing in on their huge followings and in this environment just because a someone will publish your book does not make you a writer.

Many of you have suggested that I read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I have finished the book and I could literally write a book about this book. Believe me, I have LOTS to say. But first I'd like to hear from you. If you have read the book I'd like to ask you to leave a comment. What was the message/feeling you took away from it? Can you sum it up for me?

Currently I'm reading Mockingbird, which is a biography of Harper Lee. She had a very interesting childhood with some difficult relationships. So far, I recommend it.

Here's a list of books I've collected over the years that people have suggested. I call it my Book Bucket List.

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
Rivers of Gold, Rivers of Blood
The Kite Runner
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Quest for the Lost City
The Time Traveler's Wife
Silko's Ceremony
Fifty Acres and a Poodle
Distant Waters
Song for a Blue Ocean
Kristin Lavandsdatter
The Road
The Year of Magical Thinking
Working on the Edge
Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek
Anything by Barry Lopez

Have you read any of these?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I haven't heard whether there's a gingerbread house competition this year. I hope so. After a year off I'm ready to go again.

Here's my first entry, a farmhouse.


At the last minute I decided it needed a picket fence, so I stayed up till 1 a.m. baking and creating the fence.

It included a dog house in the back and doggie footprints in the snow. This didn't win a prize but the competition was stiff.


And the second effort which one third place.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A close up.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The organizer of this event is one of the top pastry chefs in the world (and his wife), who live nearby. It's a lot of work but so much fun.

How about you? Do you have any holiday traditions such as cookie exchanges or gingerbread competitions?


martina said...

Kristin Lavansdattar-the whole series, it was a hard read but glad I did it. Fifty Acres and a Poodle.
May we add our Tootsie Pops to your Halloween haul?

Mary Rex said...

Just stopped in to see what you are up to. The gingerbread houses are beautiful! You are so artistic!
One year, when my nephew was about 7, we made a gingerbread house together. I showed him how to develop a pattern from a drawing he had made, and mixed up the dough...but I let him do most everything else as far as the designing went.
It turned out so cool, really modern looking and colorful. We carefully boxed it up after Christmas, and it did last till the next year, it's too bad we did not get a picture.
I love reading, and consume everything I can get my hands on, or that is recommended to me. I have already commented on the Glass Castle. I think I may reread it, to get a better idea what I think before commenting further.
I was fascinated by Reading Lolita in Tehran. I had no idea what the women in Iran had experienced till I read that book. It remains a timely read, especially for anyone who may not realize how modern Iran was before the Shah was deposed.

chocolatechic said...

Thanks for the chocolate.

I left the Almond Joy for the Farmer.

I took some Reeses.

Beautiful gingerbread houses. My mom, my sister and I used to do them...with graham crackers.

LydaBabes Going Ons!!!! said...

You have too much talent.....I got from Glass Castle, was it you want it bad enough you can get it.....I loved her new book too about her grandmother. Her mother was a hellun from the start..... I haven't read any on your list.... Try, Moon Flower Vine....I really like it.

Iam reading Stone Diary right now, kinda hard cause the author wants to put in every little detail...but It is a good read. I started Time Travelers wife. But confusing, they either go forward in time or backwards. I'll have to give it another go.....

Thanks for the candy I am flying really high......

pmsmsw said...

I read Glass Castle. The story is a hard one but I think it is a tribute to the resiliency in some people. People can rise above their personal challenges.

Kat said...

My co-blogger and I make gingerbread houses together every year. The tradition started when we were in middle school, and now my middle-school daughter and her elementary age daughter continue the tradition with us.
You should see our (somewhat disgusting) stash box of candy that carries over from year to year. There might even be some red hots dating back to the mid '80s tucked in the very bottom...I've always been a little too scared to spelunk all the way down!

Kat said...

I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society last night. After Bet reads it, we're giving it away. This book is too good to be kept on a shelf!

Leslie T. said...

Happy Monday, Suzanne!
I love your gingerbread houses!
Regarding Julie and Julia -- I saw the movie and read the book. Let me say that Julie Powell is nothing like the cute Amy Adams character in the movie. I was very disappointed to realize that Julie Powell is a foul-mouthed, self-indulged person who is lacking a moral compass.
I also read the preview of her next book which is due to be released next month. In this new book she will regale us with the lovely tale of how she left her husband and had an affair, I believe it was with an old boyfriend, and she moved several hours away from home to work in as a meat cutter in a butcher shop. Apparently she is presently back with her husband, but I sure can't figure out what he sees in her or why he would ever want her back.
Life is funny, no?
i have not read Glass Castle, but it's on my list.

Jenni said...

The only two books I've read on that list are The Kite Runner (this year) and Fifty Acres and a Poodle (last year). Both were excellent books.

I also read The Glass Castle last year after reading Rechelle's (My Sister's Farmhouse) recommendation. (I won 50 Acres and a Poodle on her blog also.) It was an excellent book and is now in my list of favorites. Yes, Jeannette Walls suffered through some horrible things as a child, but I find her story inspiring and her perspective refreshing. These days everyone is a victim. They blame their past for their present and their present circumstances for how they will proceed into the future. Then there are people like Jeannette Walls who had it worse than most of us, managed to make something of her life, and lives without bitterness. There is a lot of wisdom in that book. For the same reasons, I highly recommend I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Parts of it are horrifying and absolutely heartbreaking, but it is worth reading those parts to see how she triumphed in spite of such unimaginable circumstances.

I'm in the middle of reading Julie and Julia right now. Yes, she does cuss a lot, but it doesn't bother me. I don't think it has anything to do with limited vocabulary, either. I think we just express ourselves differently. There are a few spots where I think it's a bit excessive, but it isn't that bad, IMO. I've read much worse--both with and without curse words. To me it's less about the words that are used and how their used or what the intent is. Someone can be cruel, vile, and nasty without ever uttering a curse word. Um, I think I got sidetracked. So far the book is interesting, LOL. I'm only on page 80, but I've marked several quotes I want to save.

Karen Deborah said...

Good post, we must've been drinking the same coffee, I did a book review too. From your list I have read 50 Acres and A Poodle. I also had a big poodle and she nails it. I have read other books by Jeanne Marie Laskas and the one of her adopting her girls is very sweet and funny.

Christmas? Already? I love to bake. Your gingerbread house is impressive prizes or not.

Anonymous said...

I read the Kite Runner. Fabulous book. Be sure to read his other book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. This was also terrific. Can't wait for his next one.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

No gingerbread houses here...tried it one time. Once. Only. I avoided chocolate for Halloween this year. We don't have many visitors (none this year), so I knew I'd have left overs and thought the package of starburst would be easier to resist. Not. And books? My passion. V and I are just starting another blog reviewing our "likes," including books, movies and products. We'll post about it soon.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

I thought Glass Castles was a fascinating read, very interesting. I'd like to re-read it, but one of my sisters has it in her book stash.

Might I suggest A Fine Balance ~ if you haven't read it already ~ I'd list the author but the book is loaned out; can't remember the author's name. Darn.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

p.s. love your gingerbread houses!

lifeinredshoes said...

I already tried this earlier and it wouldn't post, hate that!
No more candy, my pants are tight enough thank you.
Books, so many favorites.
Glass Castle- loved it, wanted to throttle the parents.
Secret Life of Bees- wanted to know these ladies in "real" life, missed them when I finished the book.
House of Sand and Fog- loved it, fascinating characters.
I Know This Much Is True- Wally Lamb, read it.
Fall On Your Knees- had to put the book down to catch my breath, a deep read.
A Thousand Splendid Suns- so so good.
I could go on and on, my next read is The Friday Night Knitting Club. I will crack the cover as soon as the baby shower I am throwing Saturday is over!
Gingerbread houses? I cheat and buy the premade ones at Costco for the Little Loves to make.
Yours are fab.

Mary Rex said...

I just got back from the Paperback Exchange with 2 books I am excited about.
'Burning Bright'by Tracy Chevalier and 'The Blind Assassin' by Margaret Atwood.

Inside the cover of Ms. Chevalier's
book, a reviewer comments that she "provides an irresistible evocation of a time & place where creativity flourished". I have found that to be true of all of her books.

The Blind Assassin won the Booker Prize in 2000. Reviews describe the book as lyrical, bewitching, chilling and rich in period detail. Even reading the reviews is fun! I am sure I read a review of this book when it was published, and am just now getting around to reading it.

I seem to like historical fiction or autobiographies by women.

Kat-I am so glad you enjoyed the Guernsey book, thanks for passing it along.

Thirkellgirl said...

I keep missing the staff meetings because I show up too early. That doesn't usually happen in real life!

I've been kicking around the idea of a cookie exchange but haven't ever done one before and haven't even been to one. I feel the need to reinvent Christmas; the old traditions have sad associations and life marches on.

I am so impressed with your houses! I tried once and it was a disaster. Then I bought a premade house at the local bakery a few times and I have even given up on that!

Thirkellgirl said...

Leslie T..... tell us how you really feel! :) (I agree but it sounded funny!)


We didn't have one knock on the door! How is that possible? I was traumatized too - for the first time in 25 years, I didn't have a bag of candy to steal from (all the chocolates...get em when the kids go to bed kind). All my kids are too old to go trick or treating now. tears.

Mary said...

I have read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek several times. One of my daughters was taught by Annie Dillard when she was at Wesleyan.

Second Sun Press said...

After reading "40 Acres and Maybe a Mule" with my son for a home school project, I came across "Fifty Acres and a Poodle" on tape. Does that count as a read? I also read "The Time Traveler's Wife" and thought it quite good. After a while, the time jumping is much easier to follow; it's worth the effort.

kanishk said...

I left the Almond Joy for the Farmer.

I took some Reeses. Work from home India