Saturday, June 05, 2010

Reading, Watching, Eating

I had written out this entire post before, but then our Mac -- you know, the machine that never fails -- failed big time and I lost the entire thing. I'm sure the previous version was infinitely more brilliant.

1. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy -- I heard a piece about this on NPR's summer reading series a few years ago, and it was collecting dust on the shelves for a while. It's one of those books that comes and goes every few years. It seemed worth the wait. Reviewers called it effervescent and charming, and I thought it was quick, light airy lead. While the narrator is sort of a flaky cross between Holly Golightly and Carrie Bradshaw, you want to stick with her as she traipses around Europe in her early twenties. The descriptions of Paris were lovely, and it reminded me of taking overnight trains through France and Spain, and thinking that was what the rest of my life was going to be like.

2. Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby -- I bought this when it first went on sale because I wanted to see it do well, and I've been following Shapely Prose and The Rotund for years now. I felt like I already knew a lot of stuff in the book because I've been reading for so long, but I still found it an informative and hilarious read. I love both of their writing voices, so I found it enjoyable. Plus, rereading the chapters on cognitive dissonance resonated since I've been hovering in that place for oh, years -- knowing that diets don't work and that fat doesn't necessarily equal unhealthy, but still wishing I was a little bit smaller. And still sometimes thinking that I would be a brand new fucking me if I lost a few pounds.

3. The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve -- I can't remember how or when I bought this. I'm not typically into the Oprah's Book Club stuff, so I'm guessing this was on one of those Buy 2, Get 1 Free tables at Borders. It was a quick read and enjoyable -- I tried to put it away for a few days because reading a book about a husband dying in a fiery crash right before your own husband heads to Europe on a bunch of flights for a week tends to get the head cake going . But I couldn't. I wanted to know what happened. It ends up being a little Lifetime movie-ish, but who doesn't enjoy that shit every once in a while?

4. The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox by John Freeman -- Pretty much what I expected. I always read these books thinking that someone will have a cure for the 400 emails a day problem, but nobody does. It was well researched, and I really enjoyed the historical chapters on the telegraph, postcard, and telephone.

1. Up In The Air -- So, I had assumed this was a comedy, and holy crap was I wrong. It was brilliantly acted by the entire cast, but it made me SAD, SAD, SAD.

2. (500) Days of Summer -- This is pretty much the formula for my perfect movie. Quirky cute lead actors in a low-key romcom with lots of music by The Smiths. Thoroughly enjoyable. And yes, I bought the soundtrack.

3. Lost finale -- I watched it again, and I loved it. I always thought this show was an extended Bible story, and unlike most people, I hated when all the time travel/scifi shit was introduced. Yes, there were loose ends, but the redemption arc was beautiful and I cried like a freakin' baby when they all started realizing what had happened.

4. Biggest Loser finale -- We used to be fairly religious about this show because it was the only thing that the MG could watch that YG and I could get into to. It's cheesy and sentimental and sometimes horrifying, but we liked it. Now, I'm not so sure. I enjoyed the finale because one of the nice guys won, but I think this show is really jumping into spectacle territory -- 400lbs twins! The sickest man EVER! 500lb man! It feels too exploitative and is uncomfortable to watch. Undecided if we'll take in the next season.

YG is away on a business this week, and this strikes fear in my heart because it makes me responsible again for my own nutritional needs (read: cooking). I lived on my own for years, so it's not like I'm going to starve to death, but in the past, my "dinners" usually consisted of Lean Cuisine or a decaf latte and pound cake, or if I was feeling really creative (read: inclined to turn on stove), I would make oatmeal. Now, I'm trying to make a conscious effort to eat less processed foods, so I did have a few moments of thinking that I might indeed starve to death this week. We don't really have the type of money to eat every meal out, and with an infant, my choices are sort of limited anyway. So, I embarked on adventure to do two things I pretty much hate to do -- grocery shopping and cooking.

For the week, I picked up a rotisserie chicken and a lot of salad, along with tons of fruit that I could share with Zygote. I also bought tons of avocados since we've gotten quite good at making guacamole and it works great as a spread for the condiment-phobic like myself.

Then I cooked up a bunch of quinoa for main dishes and sides for lunch. I've gotten pretty good at the quinoa too, and have two recipes that I like. One is quinoa with avocado, corn, tomato and black beans, and the other mixes in cannellini beans, roasted red peppers and asparagas (I made it with green beans when YG and MG were around since they won't touch asparagas). I'm sure I will quinoa-ed out by the end of the week, but I figure it's way better than being Chipotle-d out or Hostess cupcaked out.

Editor's note: I haven't gotten over all my bad habits, though. Dinner the first night YG was away consisted of three cupcakes and a beer on the couch.

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